Bob (Bryan Callen) and Cheryl (Alexie Gilmore) are about to be married. Bob already can’t win with his in-laws-to-be, and his latest mistake is to forget to arrange for pre-marriage counseling, which must be undergone or the church won’t allow the ceremony to take place. There is only one couple available at the last minute, and it turns out to be the massively dysfunctional set of overbearingly enthusiastic Dick (Matt Servitto) and cynical and rapacious Nora (Jane Lynch). The counseling sessions become a series of disasters.
Callen comes across as a poor-man’s Ben Stiller, essaying different variations of baffled panic and pained humiliation through events that feel like deleted scenes from Meet the Parents. Jane Lynch turns in yet another of her trademarked hard-boiled characterizations. She’s good at this, but she could also do this part in her sleep. The script gives the cast very little to work with, and the direction is utterly flat. Scenes that should be frantic are merely dull, and there’s a fight scene between Gilmore and Lynch that is one of the most badly choreographed I have ever seen. Painful stuff all around.
Hmm. I’m looking at the back of the case. What exactly does “16:9 (1.78) Full Screen” mean? Seems to be a rather contradictory set of specs. In fact, what we have is 1.78:1 non-anamorphic. The picture is decent enough, but a bit on the soft side, and the reds are a little strong. Contrasts are okay, but the picture, like the movie itself, lacks energy.
Things are on a more solid footing here. The 5.1 surround sound is fine. The sound design isn’t enormously active, but blame the flat nature of the movie here, not the transfer. The placement is good, a perfect example being during the first counseling session, when an Lynch and Servitto have an argument off-screen. Their muffled voices emerge from the rear speakers, convincingly creating a sense of real audio geography.
Interview with Christopher Guest and Judd Apatow: (2:28) What, you might well ask, after looking in vain for the names of these two gentlemen in the credits, do these guys have to do with this film? Absolutely nothing. This is just a jokey clip they put together for the benefit of Lynch’s Career Achievement Award at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (where the movie inexplicably won the Jury Award for Best Comedy).
Deleted Scenes: (5:15) A montage. The picture quality is very rough, very soft.
The premise isn’t completely unpromising, and we’ve seen films like this before that were funny. But this one isn’t. Avoid.