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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Life Without Dick (2001)

"You're not going to believe this, but I didn't mean to kill Dick. I just wanted to scare him a little. I didn't even know the gun was loaded."
- Colleen (Sarah Jessica Parker)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: February 11, 2002

Stars: Sarah Jessica Parker, Harry Connick, Jr.
Other Stars: Johnny Knoxville, Teri Garr, Craig Ferguson, Geoffrey Blake, John Eddins, David Cross, Claudia Shiffer
Director: Bix Skahill

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Thematic elements, sexuality, language and a drug reference
Run Time: 01h:36m:10s
Release Date: February 05, 2002
UPC: 043396066717
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ C+BB+ D

DVD Review

When a movie features a lead character named Dick, and has to rely on a number of juvenile jokes centered around the name, then you automatically need to lower your expectations a bit. With Sex In The City's Sarah Jessica Parker as an accidental murderess who develops a taste for gunplay, this comedy plays like a stage play; albeit a nice and neat one, that is.Colleen (Parker) seems like a normal girl until she accidently shoots and kills her boyfriend Dick (former MTV nut Johnny Knoxville), whom she suspects of having had an affair with a crossing guard. The off-center wackiness of disposing of Dick's dead body is compounded by the appearance of hunky Irish hit man Danny (Harry Connick, Jr.), who just happens to have been issued orders to kill Colleen's boyfriend. Since every character in this type of film has to have a comically odd idiosyncrasy, Danny's is that despite having been a hitman for two years , he has never killed anyone; he's just too darn sensitive. Danny's boss is the cold-blooded Jared O'Riley (The Drew Carey Show's Craig Ferguson), the type of quirky crime lord that issues hits in elaborate calligraphy.Romantic sparks fly between Colleen and Danny (of course), and as the story is told in a series flashbacks, we slowly learn the truth behind Dick's questionable actions. In an almost too-cute-to-swallow spin, Colleen volunteers to perform Danny's required hits, all with a fresh-faced fervor that is handled with a fair amount of genuine humor that is sadly lacking in the rest of the film. The three leads work the silly script with a dinner theater panache. Parker is easy to watch in this role, and naturally likeable. Connick, Jr., not surprisingly, is put in a few scenarios where he is required to reluctantly sing Danny Boy, including as a last wish to a cartoonish mobster sentenced to die. Knoxville plays up his inherent bizarreness, though he does get too much screen time.A nice cross-section of solid extras supply a few recurring modest laughs, including Geoffrey Blake and John Eddins as a pair of stone faced cops who speak in nearly identical monotones. David Cross as the sarcastic Rex and Teri Garr as the ditzy psychic Madame Hugonaut are actually funny here, but appear in the briefest of roles. Yep, it's another lukewarm comedy about oddball mobsters and murder, only this time it's television-friendly, with nary an objectionable word or image in the whole film, despite a PG-13 rating.

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

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: With the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, color fidelity is good and fleshtones appear natural. Some of the night sequences are mired by black levels that render muddy shadows at times, but the daylight shots have a rich color balance. A bit of grain, but no other real source print flaws were noticeable.The other image option is a 1.33:1 version that doesn't necessarily hamper any dramatic visuals, nor does it really take away from the overall effect. But if you have the choice, why not go with 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen? Answer me that.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanish, Portugueseyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 Dolby Digital surround track, while far from overpowering in the rear channels, is pleasantly mixed, with dialogue spread spatially across the fronts. Fidelity is good, with some subtle sound effects, like phones and gunshots, directionalized to fill out the sound field.Perfectly functional for a tame comedy, without any real excess or flash.2.0 Surround tracks in Spanish and Portuguese are also provided.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring If Lucy Fell, Striking Distance
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: If you're dying to see a full frame trailer for either If Lucy Fell or Striking Distance, then you'll be happier than a pig in slop. Otherwise you will be disappointed, because that's all there is.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Here we have a harmless little comedy that tries a bit too hard at times to be quirky, and plays like a made-for-cable quickie. It's not bad, it's just not great. A nice mix of offbeat secondary characters and a breezy, relaxed performance by Sarah Jessica Parker make the broad humor come across a little better than I suspect the script should allow.More fluff than muscle.

 


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