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New Line Home Cinema presents
Faithful (1996)

"Faithful is when you've got more to lose than gain. You think about doing it, but you don't cheat."
- Tony (Chazz Palminteri)

Review By: Matt Peterson   
Published: May 31, 2004

Stars: Cher, Chazz Palminteri, Ryan O'Neal
Other Stars: Paul Mazursky, Amber Smith
Director: Paul Mazursky

MPAA Rating: R for language, sex-related dialogue
Run Time: 01h:31m:22s
Release Date: June 01, 2004
UPC: 794043714726
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ CBB+ D-

DVD Review

Margaret (Cher) is down and out. She's not happy with her Rolls-Royce, her mansion, her multi-million dollar husband. Things are just not going her way. For ten years, her husband Jack (Ryan O'Neal) has been cheating on her, and well, on her 20th anniversary, she's finally fed up. Ten years is just a year too long for Margaret, and a bottle of prescription drugs is calling her to a realm of carefree bliss, in which life's troubles will seem far away.

However, Jack is not through with her. Since she technically owns their successful business, he wants her out of the way so he can live the way he wants, buxom blonde in hand. She's worth five million, and mob hit-man Tony (Chazz Palminteri) can make things all better. One day, he shows up, and decides to have an enlightening conversation with Cher, er, I mean Margaret, about life, love, and being faithful. See, since he's had so much experience with hookers and empty relationships, he's the expert on the subject, and spills his guts to the victim before deciding whether he should kill her. He, too, has some skeletons in his closet, and a therapist a phone call away.

Before the game is up, there are many baits and switches to be had. Jack returns home to find his wife still alive, waiting to toast their years of "faithful" commitment. Confessions are put forth, secrets revealed, shots fired, and Tony returns, hoping to clear the air for all involved. Surprise! Tony is growing emotionally closer to his mark, falling in love with the woman he was hired to kill. Jack knows Tony needs money, and lies his way into his pocketbook. It's a three-way face-off. Who is telling the truth, and who will end up being truly faithful?

As the film's closing song states, "What a difference a day makes." Indeed. Yesterday, I thought comedies were supposed to be funny. Today, well, I still think comedies are supposed to be funny, but after 90 minutes of this film, I have been flabbergasted by a comedy that failed to make me laugh. Not once. No laughs. At all. Clearly there were lines that were meant to be funny, but were not; the delivery just wasn't there. This film teeters between serious, introspective drama and all-out farce, leaning toward the latter. Its unhumorous, overambitious dialogue bogs the film down. It should really be called Hitman Confessions, for Palminteri's character rarely shuts up. I guess he's in the habit of chatting it up with his victims while eating peanut butter sandwiches.

Even though the film is well shot, and features some passable performances—most notably from Cher and Chazz—there is no point in which we feel Cher's character is truly in jeopardy. At times, we are meant to think certain people are dead, have been shot, or are out of the picture, but we know full well they'll return. It's stunningly predictable, and when my predictions came true, I groaned, and ultimately did not care. Granted, I can recognize some merits in the film. There are some moments of dark insight in Palminteri's script (based on his play, and it shows), but overall, this just didn't work for me. It's supposed to be a comedy, right? Well, I was whacked by its failure.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: New Line's transfer is decent, but seems overly dark, muting colors. Detail and contrast are fine, and the print is relatively clear of defects. Light grain does persist here and there, along with quite a bit of edge enhancement, especially around titles.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 5.1 track is appropriately front heavy. Dialogue is crystal clear, as is the source music heard throughout the film. Surrounds are used mainly for ambient and to support the music. A nice mix. A Dolby Surround track is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring National Lampoon's Senior Trip, Head Above Water, Heart Condition
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Extras include theatrical trailers for Faithful and three other films, nothing more.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

One of Cher's most recent outings falls flat as an overly talky, unfunny comedy about love and adultery. New Line's presentation is passable, but the film is thoroughly average. Frankly, by the end, I too felt cheated.


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