Meg Ryan arrives at her country home a day early, catching hubby Timothy Hutton in the middle of writing her a note telling her that he wants out of their marriage. Knocking Hutton out, Ryan duct-tapes him to a chair, and declares that he will remain her prisoner until he loves her again. Hutton is understandably skeptical that this tactic will work. He is also furious and freaked out. He is even less happy the next day when Ryan heads out to do some grocery shopping, and a thief (Justin Long) breaks enters the house.
Fans of Meg Ryan hoping for a romantic comedy will be disappointed. This is a much darker piece of work, and one that defies viewers to like anyone on the screen: Ryan is nut, Hutton is a jerk, his mistress is a dolt, and Long is a thug. Realizing from the start that we are in the realm of the black farce helps, and there is fun to be had in the performances. Still, what with most of the film taking place in a bathroom, there’s a bit of a filmed-theater feel to the experience, and the ultimate denouement is obvious to all but the characters, leaving frustrated viewers to wait impatiently for the pennies to drop.
The look is bright, naturalistic, and a little bland, but that’s the aesthetic of this film, and the transfer is faithful to it. The contrasts, flesh tones and blacks are fine, and there is no grain. The image is, however, a little soft here and there. The aspect ratio is 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen.
The audio is 5.1 surround, but not so you’d notice. Clarity isn’t a problem, and this is a film about dialogue, rather than elaborate sound design, so the job is done quite adequately. Still, there are some squandered opportunities. In the scene where Hutton hears Long ransacking the house, for instance, would there have been anything wrong in placing the sound effects in the rear speakers? Instead, all one hears is a very, very faint score. A rather routine effort, then.
Commentary Track: The participants here are director Cheryl Hines and producers Andy Ostroy and Micheal Roiff. The discussion is a pleasant one and interesting enough, covering just about everything one would hope to know about the genesis and filming of the production.
The Making of Serious Moonlight: (12:21) A solid, if fairly typical, featurette, which perhaps inevitably goes over some of the same ground as the commentary track.
HDNet: A Look at Serious Moonlight: (4:41) A run-of-the-mill promotional piece.
An interesting turn for Ryan, and fans might want to check it out, keeping their expectations in check. It is, all in all, an entertaining piece, but hardly a keeper.