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Lions Gate presents
Sprung/Held Up (1999, 1997)

"I've been robbed, shot at, and kidnapped. Man I could have stayed in Chicago for this."
- Mike (Jamie Foxx)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: March 20, 2003

Stars: Jamie Foxx, Nia Long, Tisha Cambell, Rusty Cundieff, Paula Jai Parker, Joe Torry
Director: Steve Rash, Rusty Cundieff

MPAA Rating: R for language, sexuality, nudity
Run Time: 02h:56m:21s
Release Date: May 14, 2002
UPC: 031398802624
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C C+B+B C

DVD Review

The double feature release of Sprung and Held Up is a lesson in cinematic irony. Why? Because each film lacks something the other has. Think of it as a cinematic Gift of the Maji, only not as clever. While Sprung has heart and an understanding of relationships and the games that are played between women and men, it lacks any sort of real hilarity. Held Up eschews these values and instead focuses on broad humor, and at times is funny if you can forget long enough that the humor really has nothing to do with the story.

Sprung comes from director Rusty Cundieff, whose Fear of the Black Hat ranks as one of the wittiest and funniest parodies of the music business. In that film, Cundieff dealt with prejudices delivered via parody; here, he sets his sights on romance with less successful results. Montel (Cundieff) and Clyde (Torry) are party legends who will do anything to score their next conquest. Clyde has a bit of an "in" with the ladies as he sees it, as he frequently flashes a phony ATM receipt displaying thousand of dollars, while also brandishing the keys to a borrowed Porsche. In doing so he attracts the money hungry Adina (Parker)." This match up leaves Brandy (Campbell) and Montel together so, naturally, they decide to date and fall madly in love. The problem is that Clyde and Adina soon begin to hate each other and realize that if Montel and Brandy continue to fall in love, it means that Clyde and Adina will have to see each other more. Naturally, the devious couple plots and schemes to break up that happy relationship to preserve their sanity.

If the Brandy and Montel relationship were central to Sprung, the film would have likely worked, displaying a sweetness that is lacking in other romantic comedies. As the pair meet for lunch and stroll for what seems like hours, it is clear that Cundieff has turned a corner in his career and made a smart film about natural love. But just as things seem to be working, the rug is pulled out and we are sent into the other storyline and any sort of charm goes right out the window. Had the two worlds been balanced, this film would likely be remembered as a nice step up for Cundieff.

Sprung Rating For Style: C-
Sprung Rating For Substance: B-


Held Up is a painfully bland and boring comedy that proves that even though Jamie Foxx has charisma and energy to spare, even he can not overcome the obstacles set forth by a wretched script. Foxx stars as Mike, a Chicago native who is making the trip across the Southwest with his fiancée Rae (Long). So far, the trip seems to be going perfectly, until Rae learns that the $5,000 that Mike claims to have spent on his vintage 1957 Studebaker was actually closer to $13,000, a portion of which came from their nest egg. Understandably upset, Rae leaves Mike stranded in a small desert town where the only source of activity is at the local convenience store. This falls in line perfectly with Mike's day from hell, when the store gets robbed and Mike, along with a potpourri of stock characters, are taken hostage.

There are opportunities for laughs in Held Up, but the writers never recognizes them. Instead, the script plays up the overdone fish-out-of-water scenario, where Mike is thought to be Mike Tyson or Puff Daddy, presumably because people in the Southwest do not have television sets and get their news only from tabloids. Another flaw is that it wastes a performance from the talented Nia Long. Long is required to sit at an airport bar and cry her sorrows to complete strangers, and nothing more. A smarter script would have placed Rae with Mike in the store and allowed their agitation with one another to blossom in a tense environment. This is one of many things that Held Up does wrong.

Held Up Rating for Style: C+
Held Up Rating For Substance: C-


Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 transfers for each film are very similar, so reviewing them separately would be rather repetitive. The sharpness and detail on both transfers are out of this world; each offers up a very film-like quality. Edge enhancement is kept to a minimum, while the prints are free from any flaws.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Both Sprung and Held Up are afforded Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mixes, and both are rather uninspired. Dialogue sounds fine in each film, with nice crisp clarity. The surround speakers get a nice workout on Held Up in a few isolated moments, namely when the police storm the store.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Spanish with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Each film receives the exact same supplements. There's a featurette for each that are nearly identical to one another. For Sprung, we see mostly Cundieff as he discusses the film and his role as writer/director/star. Foxx is at the forefront of the Held Up piece, which seems to revolve largely around the comedian. Theatrical trailers are also offered for each release.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

For fans of these two films, the price is nice enough to warrant a purchase, otherwise you're better off shelling out your cash for something else.

 


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