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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Scorched (2002)

"The cheese stands alone!"
- Carter Doleman (Marcus Thomas)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: January 25, 2004

Stars: Alicia Silverstone, Rachael Leigh Cook, Woody Harrelson, John Cleese, Paulo Costanzo
Other Stars: David Krumholtz, Joshua Leonard, Ivan Sergei, Wayne Morse, Jeffrey Tambor, Max Wein, Marcus Thomas,
Director: Gavin Grazer

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language
Run Time: 01h:34m:24s
Release Date: January 27, 2004
UPC: 024543106777
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Who hasn't dreamed of robbing a bank at one time or another? In Gavin Grazer's "telling" comedy, Scorched, three bank clerks devise their own ways of robbing the bank where they work, each for their own reasons. For Shiela (Alicia Silverstone), it is to avenge her recently broken heart by getting her ex-boyfriend, arrogant branch manager Rick Becker (Joshua Leonard), fired.The normally conservative Stuart 'Stu' Stein (Paulo Costanzo) is goaded into his run at the money by his best friend Max (David Krumholtz), after disclosing his fantasy to borrow the bank's cash for a weekend "make or break" road trip to Vegas, where a single bet will either make him rich or turn him into a fugitive. Jason 'Woods' Valley (Woody Harrelson) plots his own revenge against the snobbish Charles Merchant (John Cleese), who hides the undeclared profits from his get-rich-quick infomercials in a safety deposit box. What makes things more interesting, and complicated, is that they each undertake their mission on the same weekend, leading to a rather humorous and rewarding outcome.

After one of the more imaginative credits sequences I've seen in a while, the film opens as nerdy Carter Doleman (Marcus Thomas) arrives for a job interview at the Desert Savings Bank, only to walk into a barrage of police uniforms and a highly agitated bank manager, who tells him in no uncertain terms to get lost since his bank has just been robbed. We then flash back to the events that led up to the robbery, as each of the participants' stories unfold.

The casting is well done, even though the characters are pretty superficial. Silverstone has matured from her Clueless days into a woman looking for a way to get even with the highly irritating Joshua Leonard, a guy you can simply have no sympathy for. Harrelson does get a few good laughs with his slapstick bumblings, though his routines are a bit much at times and very "been there, done that." Rachael Leigh Cook plays Thomas' oft fantasizing roommate, though her part is a bit of a throwaway, and surprisingly, John Cleese is one of the weaker elements in the film, with an almost walk-through performance reprising many of his former roles, although his infomercial was pretty funny.

I had no expectations going into this film, and despite some shortcomings, was pleasantly surprised by its execution. Scorched did deliver a number of laughs, and was fairly clever in weaving all its pieces together, but its gags do feel like a conglomeration of many different films—not that this necessarily works against it, but the situations and characters have a familiarity that does undermine its originality. Still, I was smiling at the end, which is all that really matters.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: Scorched is presented in both its theatrical 1.85:1 ratio, enhanced for 16x9 TVs, and an open matte full frame transfer, selectable from the main menu. The image is clean, colors are full and rich, and detail is very good. Grain looks natural, and there are very few print defects, all of which are minor.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: English audio is available in both 5.1 and 2.0 surround. The 5.1 track is nicely enveloping, with a good deal of atmospheric directionality, and the opening credits make full use of the surrounds. Dialogue is clear and easily understood. The 2.0 track is a little less present sounding. A Spanish language track is also present.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The theatrical trailer is the lone extra.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

Scorched is a funny heist comedy, which, while treading some familiar territory in its routines, still manages to redeem itself in the end. If you're looking for a way to kill a couple of hours without overworking your cognitive faculties, the film delivers some entertaining moments and builds to a satisfying conclusion. While I can't see recommending a purchase, this would be a decent rental.


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