American Women is a difficult film to write about because it evokes such little passion from its viewer. By no standards is it a good film, but pinpointing its frailties becomes quite the daunting task. Set in a small Irish village, the story centers on a group of sexist men, who want to import girls from America because the ones accessible to them do not meet up to the appropriate standards. The plot is farfetched, even as goofball comedies go, and none of the male characters are likeable. Also, with so many …torylines going at once, the scope of American Women wanders aimlessly, like a small child with ADD roaming about the countryside.
It’s the worst kind of comedy – the kind that, while well-made, never manages a single chuckle from its viewers, and presents us with a cast of characters that have no arc. When the happy endings do come, they do not feel deserved, and the concept of everyone falling in love at once feels too forced, like the filmmakers are trying to resolve as much as possible at one time with no eye for plot or character development. It does not even succeed at being bad, and thus becomes the cinematic equivalent to the buzzing fly that won’t go away, despite its short running time. Though not an incompetent travesty of filmmaking and acting, I can’t help but feel American Women would have been more entertaining if it were.
Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (and a grainier 1.33:1 full-screen version), American Women does look the part of successful independent film. Colors are strong – particularly flesh tones. However, there isn’t any use for contrast, so the image, while clear, does not feel balanced. Still, the landscapes are gorgeous, and the flaws are nearly undetectable. It’s overall a good-looking bore.
The primary track is Dolby Digital 5.0. It sounds crisp and clear, but there isn’t anything all together dynamic in the presentation. It’s just a character comedy, and as that goes, the dialogue levels are adequate. Almost no bass to speak of, but everything the disc tries – on a technical level – it does extremely well.
Only a few trailers are present for films such as Waking Ned Devine, The Full Monty, and The Impostors. All three seem like they’d represent time better spent than viewing American Women, as I laughed more in each trailer than I did in this entire film (sad, too, considering it’s from the makers of The Full Monty).
With a fine audio/video presentation, American Women looks and sounds better than it deserves. Still, with just the film to warrant recommendation, the disc falls short of being a sure-fire purchase, even at its low price.
Special Features List