On the one hand, I have pretty low expectations for movies that were made for TV. On the other hand, this is an HBO film, so my expectations are just a bit higher than normal. My interest was further peaked when I saw that this was a romantic comedy. It is nice to see the network famous for drama branch out into comedy, and I was curious to see the results.
The plot of this film reminded me somewhat of the Keanu Reeves sleeper hit A Walk in the Clouds. In this case, however, the family business is not …ine, but fireworks. The always-fantastic Stanley Tucci plays an Italian from the old country that comes to America to work for his distant cousins making fireworks. Naturally, he falls in love with a girl (Bridget Fonda) once he gets there, and both drama and hilarity ensue.
Usually, it doesn’t really make that much difference what the sound quality is like on a romantic comedy. This is kind-of a special case, however, as the family business in this film is fireworks, as I mentioned earlier. This disc features a nice low end quality, which really helps to punctuate the occasional explosions. There is also some excellent utilization of the surround speakers, made even more poignant by their sparing use.
It is also worth noting that the soundtrack to this film has brilliantly used songs that are in the Public Domain to duplicate the popular Norah Ephron sound, while still being unique. It may be a predictable musical theme, but at least it is a well-crafted variation on the theme.
The transfer on this disc is unnaturally dark, which works great for watching the occasional fireworks, but is really quite poor for the majority of the scenes in the film. Many details and even faces are obscured by unnecessary shadows. The picture is also much grainier than I would like it to be. These two things give the picture an overriding sense of dullness, which is a real shame, because this film had so much more visual potential than what it provides.
This is another one of those “extra-less” discs that drive consumers crazy. Literally, the only thing on this disc that could be considered extra content is a trailer for Monster in Law. If you want to learn anything extra at all about this film, you’re going to have to hit the Internet yourself.
I was pleasantly surprised by this little film. It is not going to win any awards and it is completely predictable, but this is the perfect film to rent on a lazy Saturday afternoon for its “feel good” nature and a fine performance from Tucci. This is a pleasant and lighthearted film that may find a whole new audience with its release on DVD.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailer for Monster in Law