January 2, 2009

Written by Brett Weinstock

Being a big fan of the Farrelly brothers, I actually appreciated the underrated “Heartbreak Kid” with Ben Stiller. Sure, some of the jokes missed and the idea wasn’t anything spectacular (it was a remake after all), but I have been amused each and every time I watch it. If you haven’t already seen the movie, the idea is quite simple. Eddie Cantro (Ben Stiller in his perfect role), a single man entering his forties meets a beautiful young woman (Malin Akerman) and marries her so she wont have to move away. We soon find out that Eddie was meeting her representative, and on the way to their honeymoon in Mexico he starts to realize how crazy she truly is. On the honeymoon, Eddie meets another woman and immediately realizes that she is the one for him, proposing a unique problem for all parties.

Since the film is over a year and a half old, the point of this review is to focus on the Blu-ray transfer. Since the film was previously released on the deceased hd-dvd format, this isn’t the first high-def version of this romantic-comedy. I am usually not a fan of comedies being on Blu-ray- I just don’t feel the need. Sure, everybody wants to be with the current technology, but movies with great special effects and spectacular sound belong on Blu-ray in my opinion. That being said, I actually enjoyed this transfer because of the setting. Since they honeymoon in beautiful Cabo San Lucas, the resort and surrounding ocean look pretty stunning.

Besides the video quality, another reason to go Blu-ray on an older film is for the special features. Since the movie is on its third format, there aren’t any new special features as far as I know. What comes on the disc is pretty standard, including your usual commentaries, gag reels, deleted scenes. However, there are a couple featurettes that are worth watching. If you already own this film, there’s no real need to buy this version…unless you want to see Mexican beaches with stunning detail. As I said, I like this film, so if you don’t already own it, make Blu-ray your choice.

Speaking of older films, who can forget the classic Farley/Spade comedy “Tommy Boy?” These two may truly be comic geniuses, as I remember this and their other effort together (“Black Sheep”) being a couple of my favorite films years ago. This film was actually ahead of its time in my mind, because it was a different kind of comedy- it didn’t focus on awkward romantic encounters or pie in the face humor. The film centers on Farley, a dimwitted and fairly incompetent heir to his family auto parts factory. He doesn’t have much to celebrate however, as he soon realizes that his family full of con-artists are trying to take over and jeopardize his future. Hilarity truly ensues when his buddy (David Spade) joins him on his endeavor to protect the business.

Since this film has seen many releases up to this point, I wasn’t too sure if the Blu-ray transfer was the right idea. Sure, it’s loaded with some pretty damn funny featurettes and gag reels, but it does little to further the quality of the film. This movie doesn’t really need to be seen in high-def and the unrated, extended version can be purchased on standard disc format as well. I still enjoy this movie to this day, and the high-def transfer obviously doesn’t bother me, but I could have kept on living without it.

Paramount has done a successful job transferring some first-rate comedies over to Blu-ray. Though I agree with “The Heartbreak Kid” transfer based on the Mexican vista alone, I can’t whole heatedly recommend “Tommy Boy.” Though both films deliver the laughs, if you own the previous versions or just don’t care about better picture quality, there’s nothing to save these two. If you’re like me, and simply love collecting movies, I promise you could do a lot worse. They are both worth rentals if you haven’t already seen them, but you could rent them on standard format and still be pleased. I like Paramount’s intentions with these discs, but they just fell a LITTLE short.

Heartbreak Kid

Film Rating: B

Special Features: C

Video Presentation: A (Ben Stiller should thank the beautiful, blue ocean!)

Tommy Boy

Film Rating: B

Special Features: C

Video Presentation: A (the transfer looks good, but it’s really not necessary)

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