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Ventura presents
The Kids in the Hall: Tour of Duty (2002)

I often wonder which I like more, dogs or comedy. Sometime in the future I would like to blend my passions by creating a joke only a dog can hear, and only a dog can understand.
- Kevin McDonald

Review By: Kevin Clemons  
Published: August 14, 2003

Stars: Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Scott Thompson, Mark McKinney, Kevin McDonald
Director: unknown

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for mild language
Run Time: 01h:21m:41s
Release Date: March 18, 2003
UPC: 805239900196
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- AB+B+ B-

DVD Review

As I have mentioned before in my reviews, there is little that delights me more that The Kids in the Hall. In times of gloom or boredom, all I need do is pop in a tape or DVD featuring the Canadian quintet and all seems right with the world. The only thing better than viewing the troupe on television is to see their brilliance live, something I got to do last year in St. Louis. The experience was awe-inspiring, seeing my favorite performers in the flesh as they acted out skits and other various improvisations to the delight of all in attendance.

For those who missed that tour, there is some consolation to be found in the just released Kids in the Hall: Tour of Duty, a special performance taped at the Queen Elizabeth Theater in 2002. As one may expect, there are several classic sketches here as well as a few new ones, including the absolutely hilarious "Patrioticom," an infomercial that features an exercise machine that brings out the American in all of us, complete with an automatic flag waver. The classic sketches include such fan favorites as the "Chicken Lady," "Kathy/Cathy," "Danny Husk," "Headcrusher," and of course, "Young Gavin."

Many of the more classic skits are nearly verbatim from their original airings, though some have been changed to reflect current events. The most notable target is the new sense of patriotism that swept across the US after the September 11th attacks. The humor is in good taste, thankfully, and it truly does fit in with the other sketches perfectly. This is a tricky subject to poke fun at, and the group does so very admirably.

Originally filmed for pay per view programming, KITH: TOD boasts a widescreen format filmed from eleven different cameras. The result is a very slick production that really puts the viewer in the theater with the audience. The production team does a nice job of capturing all of the events occurring onstage, ensuring that the audience does not miss a beat.

Longtime fans of the television show may find the staged setting difficult to get used to, but in no time things begin to feel more comfortable. The setup for the stage features three large video screens that act as backdrop and often play into the sketches, providing footage central to the punch line. By the third or fourth sketch the stage setting is all but forgotten, as you will likely become engrossed by the pure genius exhibited on stage.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: In a disappointing move, this feature has been released in a nonanamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen transfer. Aside from the exclusion of anamorphic support, the image quality is generally quite good. Colors are generally sharp with no bleeding, while the black levels show slight grain. I noticed some slight edge enhancement as well as some pixelation in the darkly lit sketches.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: KITH: TOD features three audio options, including both Dolby Digital and DTS mixes, as well as a Dolby Surround track. I chose to listen to the DTS track and I was very pleased with the results. Dialogue sounds great firmly anchored to the center speaker, and has no distortion or dropouts of any kind. The surround speakers are used largely for the applause generated by the crowd, though at some moments there are a few small ambient effects. The Dolby Digital track shows little in terms of difference with the DTS mix as both sounds remarkably similar.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
2 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Q & A session
  2. extended branching feature
Extras Review: The extra features for KITH: TOD range from truly wonderful to rather boring but the nearly half-hour worth of material is worth at least one look. Leading things off is a Q & A session that feels more satirical than informative, as the group answers questions that really have nothing to do with the show or the tour, but rather, everyday life. This is a funny bit, but it begins to drag towards the end. Two deleted sketches are offered, including "Nina from Joymakers" and "Never Trust." The first will likely be familiar to fans; the second showcases Bruce McCullough's musical talents on two songs.

Through extended branching, viewers can click on the bullseye icon to be taken to a behind-the-scenes piece related to the portion of the performance that they just viewed. This is a nice effort, but the footage is rather boring.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

A must have for any Kids in the Hall fan, this DVD is the next best thing to seeing the group live. Pick this one up and you will not be sorry. Highly recommended.


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