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IndieDVD presents
The Stand In (1999)

"I just don't want my tombstone to read 'This guy used to stand in for Mitchell J. Wolfe'."
- Brian Roberts (Robbie Bryan)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: November 20, 2003

Stars: Robbie Bryan, Kelly Ripa
Other Stars: David Ogden Stiers, Judith Ivey, Don Ginaldi, Daniel Margotta, David Heyman, Joseph Barbera, Jaid Barrymore, Ayo Haynes
Director: Roberto Monticello

MPAA Rating: PG for language
Run Time: 01h:39m:36s
Release Date: February 25, 2003
UPC: 802695002099
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- B+CB B-

DVD Review

New York is filled with actors and actresses trying to get their big break in show business, but only a small handful ever will. The Stand In tells the story of one such actor through a winning and charming yet predictable film that is likely to give hope to anyone wanting to achieve their dream someday.

The film tells the story of Brian Roberts (Bryan), a law school student who believed that his career would be better entertaining people than representing them. This is much to the chagrin of his father (Grimaldi) and girlfriend (Ripa), the latter of which had hoped to open a law firm with her would-be husband someday. Once in New York, Brian meets Alex (Ayo Haynes) and soon his career as an actor begins, albeit with small work for the most part. Brian gets a job as a stand-in for a popular star named Mitchell J. Wolfe (David Heymann) as well as a small part on a soap opera. There are many more ups and downs in Brian's life to discuss, but giving them away here would greatly deter from the emotional impact that the film offers.

While on the surface The Stand In may look like any other romantic comedy about the struggles of a relationship against adversity, it is important to say that the laughs in never get in the way of the dramatic overtones. The script by Robbie Bryan (clever how they switched the name around huh?) is nearly heartbreaking in many moments as it becomes clear just how hard it is for a struggling actor in New York. But the film never falls into the usual trapping, nor is the tone pulled down because of these setbacks.

The film maintains a balance between happiness and depression so well in fact that most viewers will be set on a sort of roller coaster of emotions. This is a testament to the writing, which benefits from the true life events in Bryan's life and his surroundings. The sets and locations add to the overall tone of the film and it is no coincidence that the scenes that feature the opposing aspects of Robbie's life, including law school and his father, are filmed in brighter colors and much warmer tones.

This is a film that took me by surprise. It is refreshing that, while predictable, it offers enough energy and charm that any problems in the script, including a small group of scenes that are emotionally heavy-handed, are easily overlooked.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: The 1.33:1 full-frame transfer is rather disappointing in its appearance. Colors are muted with no vibrancy, while black levels show instance of grain and lack solid depth. There are slight instances of edge enhancement and pixelation throughout, and the print does show numerous flaws.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround track is rather standard in its design, with the majority of activity placed in the center channel. The dialogue is muffled and often produced at a low volume that makes it difficult to understand. Overall the track is done very poorly.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Robbie Bryan, Christie Bothelo, Daniel Margotta, Andrew Goffman
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Bloopers
Extras Review: A commentary featuring Robbie Bryan and fellow actors Christie Bothelo (who is Bryan's wife), Daniel Margotta, and Andrew Goffman is offered. The track is very entertaining while not terribly informative, with the majority of the discussion focused on the real-life events that inspired the film. (The problem with this is that the movie already covered these events, so what is the point?) Overall, though, the track is worth a listen, given the chemistry of the group.

A five-minute set of bloopers as well as the original trailer are also offered.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

The Stand In in not a must see, but for those looking for a film that will simply make them smile and give them a fresh outlook on life, you can't do wrong.


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