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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
"You know those moments when a man makes a decision that'll change his entire life and he steps up to become the hero he was meant to be? This ain't one of those moments."
DVD ReviewThe general goal of anyone in high school is to be popular. For Dizzy Harrison (Qualls) that is a dream that may never come true. In The New Guy, a sort of strangely sweet-natured high school comedy, Dizzy will go from school outcast to big man on campus in a short amount of time after a life changing moment.
At his previous school, Dizzy was the center of a very public embarrassment dealt by a hard-fisted librarian who breaks a part of Dizzy's anatomy that I will not mention here. Through a series of unfortunate events, he lands in prison where his cell mate, Luther (Griffin), teaches him how to be a tougher and cooler person. When Dizzy is released, he goes by the name Gil and shows up at a new high school with a new look. Not surprisingly, he is a hit with his new classmates and soon, Dizzy's the most popular guy on campus. But there are consequences to starting this new life, as his old friends become more distant and the former most popular students seek revenge.
While it may seem strange to hear the words "original" and "kind-natured" in a review of a teen comedy, it is comforting to find these elements in The New Guy. The film creates a fine parallel of high school and prison, and suggests that to survive in one you may need to learn how to survive in the other. It also creates a nice lead role for Qualls, a sort of geeky actor who makes for a nice change from the typical dressing down of normally gorgeous actors and actresses that has become popular as of late.
Another way The New Guy stands above others in its class is the performances. Griffin is an absolute delight in his all-too-brief roll as the inmate, Luther. There are moments where the young comic reminds the viewer of Richard Pryor, the best sort of praise I can offer. Qualls and Dushku each offer nicely rounded performances and they have a nice chemistry. Look for cameos by the likes of Tony Hawk, Henry Rollins, and even Vanilla Ice, throughout the film.
For all of the moments that I applaud in The New Guy, there are elements of the script that rely too heavily on gross humor and some very cheap laughs. Take for example a scene where Dizzy, in a desperate effort to get expelled, plays a closed-circuit feed of his principle struggling in the bathroom. This, of course, serves no real purpose to the plot, but it is obviously aimed at those who find such humor enjoyable.
This most recent DVD release of The New Guy is a director's cut that has four minutes of previously unseen footage reinserted into the finished film. Having not seen the original, I relied upon the discs commentary track to provide me with a list of moments that are new to the film. Unfortunately, this director's cut seems only to provide a few more crude jokes and gross humor. Nothing like adding some much needed toilet humor to a film, huh?
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-
Image Transfer Review: Presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, The New Guy looks good as should be expected, but there are a handful of moments where the transfer becomes very disappointing. Sharpness and detail are done nicely with rich depth and terrific definition. The print used is clean for the most part, but there are some instances towards the end of the picture where there are numerous occurrences of dirt and flaws. There are also a few moments of mild edge enhancement in patches during the film.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for The New Guy is surprisingly active given the film's subject matter and I was impressed time and time again. The surrounds are used largely for reinforcement of the music as well as slight ambient sounds. The center channel is crisp and clear throughout, and the left and right speakers provide nice depth, helping to create a truly impressive sound field. This is not a kinetic mix, but it is one of the better quality ones I have ever heard.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Ed Decter, writer David Kendall, and actors DJ Qualls and Eliza Dushku
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsI applaud The New Guy simply because it manages to disconnect itself from the large pack of other teen comedies. It offers nice performances and has some truly funny moments. Not much new here if you own the previous release.
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