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MGM Studios DVD presents
Something Wild (1986)

Lulu: "If you were my mother and I brought this guy home as my husband, what would you think?"
Junk Store Gal: "Very nice, but, em, I'd get rid of those handcuffs if I were you."

- (Melanie Griffiths, Dorothy Demme)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: July 26, 2001

Stars: Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, Ray Liotta
Other Stars: John Waters, Jack Gilpin, Su Tissue, Chloe Amateau, Robert Ridgely, Dana Preu
Director: Jonathan Demme

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: R for (Nudity, sexual situations, language, violence)
Run Time: 01h:53m:25s
Release Date: June 05, 2001
UPC: 027616862839
Genre: black comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-A-A- D+

DVD Review

"Driggs, I didn't think you had it in you." - Larry Dillman (Jack Gilpin)

If you had suggested I rent an 1980s' flick with Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels and Ray Liota starring in it, I probably would have declined, figuring on more mindless and pointless fare than I would be willing to endure. Something Wild on the other hand, is a surprisingly good road movie, full of unpredictability, wild action and some great twists and turns. Director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Melvin and Howard) delivers a great little film showing the other side of life.

Charles Driggs (Daniels), an office boy who just got handed a promotion, figures he'll take a walk on the wild side, and skips on a check for his lunch. His carefree attitude is quickly tempered when he is confronted for this infraction by Lulu (Griffith), who he mistakenly assumes is a waitress. After she cools his jets for a bit by threatening to call the police, she invites him to take a ride with her, using his crime for leverage in a bit of coercion. He figures what the hell, and off they go, but little does he know he is in for Something Wild.

Though he is married, Lulu manages to persuade him to join her at a motel, where she handcuffs him to the bed, then calls his work to make him explain to his boss why he is taking the afternoon off, while she proceeds to sexually arouse him while he's on the phone. Throwing caution to the wind, the two have some steamy sex, after which Lulu again persuades Charles to continue their little adventure, this time showing up at her mother's house with Charles handed the role of acting as her fiance. He has to think on his feet, and does a pretty good sheisting job, but can they keep it up for their next little adventure?

Larry: "You're having his child?"
Lulu: "I think it's his child."

Like all good things, the fun may come to an end when they not only meet up with Charles' coworker (Jack Gilpin as Larry Dillman), but a man from Lulu's past (Ray Liota as Ray Sinclair), and the tension builds to things even more unpredictable. Will the truth finally come out, or have things gone a little bit too far?

Something Wild is one great scene after another which fully utilize the talent in the cast, and the excellent dialogue in the script. Daniels and Griffith excel in their roles - he squirming with discomfort at every situation he finds himself in, and she as the assertive liar stringing him along. Liota adds just the right amount of edge to never let you know exactly where he is going. Look for director/actor John Waters (Divine Trash, Hairspray) in a cameo as a used car salesman. The film is a pretty wild ride, and thoroughly enjoyable, as our characters live on the other side of morality, where things like adultery, drinking and driving and petty larceny are fun diversions free from any moral consequences. If you're looking for a nice black comedy, you can't go wrong with this one.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: MGM delivers Something Wild in a nice anamorphic transfer. Colors are great, black levels solid, and grain is well rendered. The image is not overly sharpened and looks very natural. Nothing stands out in the way of print defects. A good overall presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoSpanishyes
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The stereo presentation is solid with no problems to report. The soundfield is nice and wide, though directionality is primarily limited to foley and the musical soundtrack, which features lots of road worthy classic rock. Sounds great.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: While the movie is great, there is nothing wild about the supplements, which feature only a theatrical trailer... though I suppose I should mention the insert sheet that houses the chapter listing.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

Part romantic comedy, part adventure, part suspense flick, Something Wild takes a bored office geek and shows him the dark side of life. Witty, funny and always moving, this film is a surprise treat from Jonathan Demme, and showcase roles for Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith and Ray Liota. While not a must see, it certainly isn't a waste of time, and is well above average for films in this genre.

 


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