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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
"If god wanted me to marry poor he would have made me homely."
DVD ReviewAnyone who has ever needed advice will undoubtedly admit that the mind of a man is no place to look. Having needed advice on numerous occasions, I can honestly say that men have no clue as to the inner workings of the female psyche. Strangely, the central plot of Good Advice—that of a man impersonating his ex while writing her advice column with unexpected success—is not the most baffling thing about the film. Instead, it is a tired script that travels only as expected, as well as plot holes and inconsistencies that make it fall well short of what it aspires to be.
Charlie Sheen stars as Ryan Turner, a wealthy stock trader who has a beautiful girlfriend, Cindy (Richards), as well as a beautiful mistress. Things are seemingly perfect for Ryan as he bounces from one to the other, all the while making millions and feeding Cindy's dream of marrying rich and living a life of luxury. But everything comes crashing down when Ryan becomes the victim of a brutally false stock tip and loses everything. Quickly, Cindy leaves with another man for Brazil and Ryan is left with money and no job prospects.
The opportunity of a lifetime comes when Ryan finds that Cindy created a job opening at her newspaper when she left him. The only catch is that Cindy was an advice columnist (and a poor one at that) and her work would generally require her presence at the office. But Ryan devises a way to fool Cindy's boss, Page (Harmon), and write the column for her. Things turn crazy as Ryan (posing as Cindy) becomes a huge hit and instant star, and as he develops feelings for Page. Oh yeah, and Cindy is coming back to town with a sudden fame that she believes is rightfully hers.
To be honest, there are moments and characters in Good Advice that work very well within the weakened confines of the script. But none of this makes up for the film's overflowing problems that hamper its outcome. I enjoyed the relationship between Ryan and Page, but there are moments when their friendship/relationship seems to be too convenient. Everyone central to the plot—aside from Page—seems to know about Ryan's masquerading (even Page's secretary) and Page never seems to notice that the columns are unlike anything we are led to believe that Cindy would write.
Good Advice had the chance to be memorable. The scenes featuring Jon Lovitz, as a plastic surgeon and Ryan's friend, are wonderfully written and the two have an exceptional chemistry. Also memorable is Estelle Harris (George's mom on Seinfeld as an overly frisky secretary that has a thing for Ryan. These supporting characters make the film worth watching, as they most often have more energy and humor than the three lead actors combined.
This is not to say that Sheen does a bad job in Good Advice; his early scenes feature the sort of biting sarcasm he does best. Sheen's chemistry with Harmon is fine, but I never bought the two as a potential couple. Richards is fine here, but she apears so briefly that her character only whets our appetite for more.
Finally, giving in to the trappings of gross-out humor, there is a scene that features a performance artist who finds a new and inventive way to paint on a large canvas. I will leave exactly how he goes about doing it as a surprise for those who view the film, but the scene has no real point, other than to shock the audience and offer a cheap laugh.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+
Image Transfer Review: Presented in both a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer as well as a full-frame version, Good Advice marks a stellar effort from Artisan. The film features a vast color palette from the harsh blues and grays of New York to the more vibrant assortment that composes many of the interior scenes. The colors look terrific with no bleeding evident, while black levels have consistently great depth. There are no alarming instances of edge enhancement, though there are a few places where the print shows some slight flaws. All in all this is a very nice transfer.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix for Good Advice is OK given the material, but overall sounds a bit subdued. The musical score fills the surround speakers, though there seems to be little activity in the rear speakers. With the bustling streets of New York, I was hoping for more ambient effects; unfortunately they never appeared. Dialogue sounds clean with nice definition while the left and right speakers do a nice job of filling out the mix.
A Dolby Surround mix is also provided, though there seems to be little difference between this mix and the 5.1 track.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Picking Up The Pieces, Novocaine, Dr. T and the Women, Van Wilder, The Rambo Trilogy, Dune: Special Edition
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Steve Rash
Extras Review: Director Steve Rash offers a screen-specific commentary and, like the film, the track feels flat and slow moving. Rash is enthusiastic, but his comments often seem insignificant, focusing on details such as the shooting schedule or the blossoming romance between Sheen and Richards off the set. Overall, the track is fine, but there is very little to learn.
Trailers for Picking Up The Pieces, Novocaine, Dr. T and the Women, Van Wilder, The Rambo Trilogy, Dune: Special Edition and the original trailer for Good Advice are each included in Dolby Surround.
Production notes and cast and crew filmogrpahies round out the extra features.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsGood Advice is not a bad; it features some nice performances and moments of humor that just deserve to be in a better film. A satisfying rental, but anything other than that would not be advised!
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