April 07, 2008 by Marshal Rosenthal
Parodies do well providing the source material is strong and firmly ingrained in pop-culture. So taking on country singers (think Johnny Cash) and even pop music in general seems a safe bet, especially since it’s being delivered by the “Superbad,” “40-year Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up” guy whose movies are generally home runs. Well maybe this time it’s more of a double, because even sex, drugs and rock and roll doesn’t guarantee success.
Not that there isn’t big chunks of humor to be found - with lots of Spinal Tap-like reality pushed to the edge. And who can’t find a huge guffaw in seeing an obviously not Paul McCartney look-alike playing the Beatle? But while there’s plenty of music and performances to enjoy slightly from an askance point of view, much of the sophomoric humor comes off as sketches rather than a progression of a classic bio-pic gone nuts. And no we ain’t prudes, we just think that to be consistently funny means you have to run hard, not walk.
Musically there’s a gift in having the TrueHD audio codec to listen to - it provides for stronger vocals, grittier bass and a more dense atmosphere amidst a bevy of musical style and era takeoffs. There are nice visuals as well, with strong detail, good solid colors and high-definition for every nook and cranny of the actor’s skin crevices (making us long for the return of VHS resolution).
And since you have a second disc, there’s room for larger segments, like performances, deleted/extended scenes and all kinds of extra nonsense. But it’s really the first release of BD-Live since HD DVD bit the dust (yes Saw IV should have the honor but too bad). This is all about internet access for downloading new content and creating interactivity, provided your BD player has an ethernet port. So what’s there? Three more mini-featurettes in which Derek Stone, a historian and expert “Coxologist” provides insight into all things Dewey. Plus a FAQ that explains BD-Live (helpful in this day of cost-cutting title-specific inserts). Of course this all could have been delivered on disc just as easily, but considering that it will be a while before enough folks get new players for accessing such things, it’s sensible that BD-Live isn’t too good. You wouldn’t want to upset those buying the disc since they won’t be able to see it, would you? This bodes well as it appears Blu-ray is doing more than just taking the trophy cup as the winning format as things are starting to get interactively interesting.
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Disc Specs and Credits
Format reviewed: Blu-ray
Disc Size: N/A
Aspect Ratio: 1080p, 2.40:1
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Director: Jake Kasdan
Screenwriter: Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan
Starring: John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Raymond J. Barry, Margo Martindale, Kristen Wiig, Chip Hormess, Conner Rayburn, Tim Meadows, Chris Parnell, Matt Besser, David Krumholtz, Nat Faxon, Terrence Beasor, Honeyboy Edwards, Gerry Black
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 8 ,2008
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