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Image Entertainment presents
Keith (2008)

ďCome on, come on, I do my best work when Iím driving.Ē
- Keith (Jesse McCartney)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: February 02, 2009

Stars: Jesse McCartney, Elisabeth Harnois
Director: Todd Kessler

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations and language)
Run Time: 01h:34m:51s
Release Date: February 03, 2009
UPC: 014381530421
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ C+B-C D-

DVD Review

Weíll cut right to the chase and say if youíve seen the underrated Mandy Moore vehicle A Walk To Remember, then youíve basically seen the Jesse McCartney vehicle Keith. While both films feature two people falling in love with someone with a secret that threatens the length of their relationship, Keith wasnít distributed by a big studio like Mooreís film was, so itís basically flown under the radar until now.

Natalie (Elisabeth Harnois) is on the verge of high school graduation, with her only cares in the world being winning tennis matches and getting into one of the best colleges in the country. Just when things seemed normal and her life appeared to be on a defined path, she not only meets a new boyfriend, Raff (Ignacio Serricchio), but also has a new lab partner, Keith (Jesse McCartney). Things get fairly serious between Natalie a Raff pretty fast, but, for some reason, she finds herself drawn to Keith, as his outlook on life is different than that of most people. What she doesnít know is that Keith is hiding a secret that could change everything.

Unlike the aforementioned Mandy Moore film, McCartneyís big star turn is more of a hybrid independent film/movie-of-the-week project that left me with strongly mixed feelings. Harnois (Strangers With Candy) is quite good playing Natalie, as she handles a surprisingly complex role very well. McCartney, on the other hand, is far inferior, as he rarely rises above his good looks, and comes across as more of a whiny brat than anything. He somewhat redeems himself at the end, with a good final scene, but itís clear that his best acting is ahead of him.

Those responsible for choosing the filmís score have almost single-handedly downgraded it to an afterschool special. I havenít heard this many guitar solo-infused musical interludes in quite some time, and never have they been this annoying and distracting. The music does fit well during a scene near the very end, but itís completely useless for the rest of the running time. The film features numerous, poignant, emotional scenes whose impact is virtually destroyed by Tree Adamsí original music, which is a truly rare occurrence.

Once Keithís secret is revealed, an inevitable heap of melodrama follows, and weíre supposed to start reaching for a box of tissues. The problem is that this reveal happens with less than 20 minutes left in the film, leaving very little time for a satisfying resolution. Still, if we could just cut out the music entirely and add a bit more substance to the script, the movie might have been worthy of a theatrical release. Instead, this is an odd film that never really finds its way, but itís surprisingly harsh language and (gasp!) sex scene, make it easy to give director Todd Kessler some points for being daring.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is a good one, yet nothing to use as a home theater demo. Images are sharp and detailed, with solid contrast and black levels throughout. There isnít any dirt, grain, or other blemishes to bring things down either.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is also nothing spectacular. The rear speakers are rarely used, and when they are, itís for the horrible music. The most important aspect of a film like this is dialogue, and thatís crisp and clear on this track.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Diary, My Name Is Bruce, Palo Alto
Packaging: Thinpak
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extras are the trailer for Keith and previews for other DVDs.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

If youíre looking for some mature teen melodrama, then give 2008ís Keith a chance. Sure, itís as predictable as can be and features one of the worst musical scores in recent memory, but it is surprisingly edgy and daring at times, and not a bad movie to watch with your significant other.


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