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MGM Studios DVD presents
“I go there [strip clubs] for the dance, because I don't know where else to go for an overture of intimacy that won't cost me a piece of my soul."
DVD ReviewThere are battles in history that will continue forever. Take for instance good vs. evil, cats vs. dogs, or perhaps most importantly, women vs. men. While the first two have been played out on celluloid and had their day in the sun, the latter holds deliciously untapped potential. Sure the battle of the sexes thing has been done before, but never with the sarcastic black humor that it so deserves. When I saw the title of Women vs. Men, I held out for hope. Sadly, what could have been an acerbic look at relationships is nothing more than watered down sitcom-like situations.
Dana (Lahti) and Michael (Mantegna) are settling into the middle life of their marriage. They're undeniably in love, but the oomph that was once overwhelmingly present in their marriage has long since passed on. The same cannot be said for Brita (Headly) and Bruce (Reiser), though their marriage is soon to fall on similarly hard times. It seems that the Cadillac purchased by Michael for Dana is an inappropriate gesture, one that reminds Dana of her father. Broken and beaten, Bruce cheers Michael up by suggesting a trip to a local strip club. Things are going smashingly well for the boys until Dana sees them enjoying lap dances at the club, thus making them cheaters in the eyes of their wives. What happens after the discovery is an unnecessary chain of events that Michael and Bruce must go through to reclaim their marriages.
The script introduces two other supporting characters to back up the opposing sexes, but neither offers any sort of depth to the film. Shelly (Coolidge) is an overly flirtatious divorcée who sides with Dana and Brita and forces the men to add another male to the battle to make things equal. It is here that they find Nick (Pastorlli), recently divorced, who has a mission to seduce any woman he comes across. It is obvious that by the end of the film Nick and Shelly will be together, and this is where the story misses out on a golden opportunity: these two supporting characters run circles around the remainder of the group and deserve a film all of their own. But director Chazz Palminteri relegates them to be a sort of Greek choir for the husbands and wives and effectively wastes a golden chance to make at least a part of the film worthwhile and interesting.
The situations and dialogue in Women vs. Men are the sort that would work wonderfully well in a film written by Woody Allen. Allen has an ear for dialogue about marriage and dating that screenwriter David J. Burke is achingly wishing to emulate, but he just can't get it done. What would have made this enjoyable, aside from a better script, would have been to have seen the situations equally from the eyes of each gender. Instead, we are relegated to hearing the men carry on about their side of things while the wives are left to react to the foolish acts their husbands go through to win back their forgiveness.
Women vs. Men brings up interesting questions—such as what exactly cheating is—but offers no real answers. Somewhere, someone has the perfect idea for a film of this sort, and I am patiently waiting.
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: D+
Image Transfer Review: Presented in a full-frame transfer, Women vs. Men is an average transfer at best. Colors are nicely rendered with no bleeding evident, while the darker colors showed nice depth with little grain to be seen. Sharpness and detail seem a bit off, as the image has a soft haze evident throughout much of the running length. I noticed a small amount of edge enhancement in isolated spots, but there is never enough to be worrisome.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: A Dolby Surround track is offered and like the film itself, is far from being exciting. Dialogue is the star of the mix as it sounds crisp and clear with no dropouts evident. The surround speakers, as well as the left and right speakers were given very little to do aside from a few small ambient effects. A bit less than average track.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Extras Review: The trailer for Women vs. Men is featured in full-frame with Dolby Surround. Sixteen chapter stops are also included.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsWomen vs. Men is a film that takes a shot at a good idea and misses by a great distance. I admired the performances by Coolidge and Pastorelli, but little else.
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