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USA Home Video presents
Hitched (2001)

Eve: You've never told me your first name. You don't have to if you don't want to.
Grant: It's Cary.
Eve: So, it's Cary Grant?
Grant: Yeah, but it's not spelled the way you'd think it would be, with a 'K.' It's spelled C-A-R-Y.

- Sheryl Lee Diamond, Alex Carter

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: August 29, 2002

Stars: Anthony Michael Hall, Sheryl Lee Diamond
Other Stars: Alex Carter
Director: Wesley Strick

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild language, some nudity, violence)
Run Time: 01h:23m:44s
Release Date: April 23, 2002
UPC: 696306034223
Genre: black comedy


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

DVD Review

Hitched was originally a made-for-TV film that premiered on cable's USA Network, a channel often trying to stretch the limits of typical television film. Usually, their experiments with mature but TV-level subjects are mediocre, but Hitched is a surprising little black comedy that I found immensely satisfying. Written and directed by Wesley Strick (screenwriter of Arachnophobia, The Saint, and Cape Fear [the remake], among others), this little low-budget gem is quite a departure from his experiences with much bigger projects. While not a masterpiece, Hitched is a tricky film that pretends, at the outset, to be a relatively serious, dark film. Soon afterwards, though, the gears shift into a very strange mode where tongues are planted firmly in cheek.

Our tale of demented love centers around Eve Robbins (Sheryl Lee Diamond), who begins the film by frantically begging a local policeman, Cary Grant (Alex Carter), to investigate the disappearance of her husband, Ted (Anthony Michael Hall). As viewers will soon find out, however, Ted is not missing, he's simply chained up in Eve's basement. The reason for this is that Eve knows about Ted's affairs with other women and, to teach him a lesson, she now controls his life by keeping him in the basement. He's well cared for, but simply denied his freedom. Through a series of flashbacks, we see the evolution of their marriage and how it eventually collapses. The problem is, Detective Cary Grant is a wild card of sorts, and his investigation isn't helping Eve, but rather bringing him closer to uncovering the truth. Eve tries to sweet talk Grant so he'll lose the trail and where it might lead, but at the same time, Ted schemes to escape, as would anyone in the situation.

While this sordid story may sound grim, the film is by no means a serious one. Rather, it's an unusual, almost satirical piece in which all of the participants are flawed, tragically shallow people. Even Eve, who seems a logical choice for the hero of the movie, really isn't deserving of much sympathy when the depth (or lack thereof) of her character is slowly revealed. It's a purposefully stupid film that uses soap opera-ish dialogue and romance film clichés to create something very surreal. Whether it was intentional or not, Hitched felt very much to me as a dark satire of both poor romantic stories in film as well as a jab at films that attempt to portray cheating spouses as noble figures when their mate is somehow morally questionable. In this film, no one really has a high ground, and they operate in such distant worlds it seems more funny than sad. I was reminded of Twin Peaks in the way that they both have a funny, dispassionate way of presenting something, like investigating a murder and having the cops discuss the merits of donuts rather than the awful deeds they're witnessing. That kind of thing is highly present in Hitched, which is made only more effective by the solid acting by the central cast, without whose sincerity this idea would not have been even remotely entertaining.

This is not some smart commentary on modern relationships and marriages; it's a blatantly twisted comedy with no real, lasting messages. The little twists and surprises earnestly caught me off guard, but by no means will they be total shockers to most viewers. I guess when it comes down to it, Hitched is a silly film, and I think that aspect is often what makes a good black comedy work.

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

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The full-frame image is a bit 'icky', but that's not a technical term. In more detailed lingo, the film basically has a lot of problems with compression artifacts and very heavy grain (although this may in fact be further compression problems). While the movie is viewable, the dark and moody cinematography simply doesn't get its justice because of the relatively dirty and, I might say, sloppy transfer. A little more fine tuning (and a bitrate above 2.5 mbps) would have offered a more detailed image, especially in the darker scenes, of which the film is largely composed.

Image Transfer Grade: C

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 2.0 soundtrack does a decent job for a film that's mostly dialogue. On a few occasions, some slight surround activity adds a little ambience to the scenes, but it's never very emphasized. The musical score comes across as the brightest thing, but dialogue and other sound effects are by no means obscured; everything sounds good, it's just not a massively engineered mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in english with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are no features on the disc other than chapter stops. The animated main menu is actually well designed for such a bare-bones disc.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Hitched surprised me. On the surface, it would seem to be a grim story meant to be chilling or horrifying, but I don't think this was the intent of the filmmakers. Instead, it's just a self-aware, mostly goofy story of a trio of strange characters so wrapped up in their weird worlds that they stumble into each other. On a side note, I've read some things about this film that go to lengths to point out all sorts of logic holes and unresolved plot issues. In my opinion, this is seriously over-thinking the movie.

 


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