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MGM Studios DVD presents
Dorm Daze (Unrated) (2003)

"No longer will you cry in the shower, knowing no matter how hard you scrub, that you cannot rid yourself of that most heinous of afflictions: virginity."
- Styles (Patrick Renna)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: August 09, 2004

Stars: Boti Bliss, Tatyana Ali, Marieh Delfino, Tony Denman, Patrick Renna, Randy Spelling, Cameron Richardson
Other Stars: Marie Noelle Marquis, James DeBello, Danielle Fishel, Jennifer Lyons, Courtney Gains, Edwin Hodge, Chris Owen, Gable Carr, Patrick Cavanaugh, Gregory Hinton, Paul H. Kim, Katie Lohmann, Lindsey Talbott
Director: David Hillenbrand, Scott Hillenbrand

Manufacturer: Deluxe Digital Studios
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, language)
Run Time: 01h:36m:27s
Release Date: August 10, 2004
UPC: 027616912176
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C C-BB+ C

DVD Review

There's a real level of marketing desperation by releasing a "rated" and "unrated" version of this teen sex comedy, which when coupled with the National Lampoon banner, seem to plead the case for a raucous and ribald bit of entertainment, à la Animal House, something that the movie branch of the Lampoon name has been living off of for decades.

I haven't seen the R-rated version, but this unrated edition is fairly tame, and any of the naughty bits seem horribly out of place in a film that could have easily been PG 13 without sacrificing too many potential laughs. But there's probably more rental dollars in an unrated teen sex comedy than one rated PG 13, so it becomes more a matter of marketing than filmmaking.

As told in countless teenage sex comedies before, Dorm Daze starts out by equating virginity as being akin to cancer, in that it must be cured OR ELSE! Oddly enough, the subtext of losing one's virginity is just a small component of the interconnected storylines in this film, set in the very stylish and fictitious Billingsley University during Christmas break. It is not just the antics of a horny student (Patrick Renna) trying to get his virgin brother (Chris Owen) laid by hiring a tough as nails hooker (Boti Bliss), it is also an endless and interlinked series of compounded misunderstandings and coincidences that move quickly into farce territory involving mistaken identities, nerds, gays, pratfalls, a very sticky towel and ultimately, young love.

There are a lot of characters in Dorm Daze, most of them ridiculously good-looking, and each one is involved in some wacky storyline that involves a colossal case of confusion, whether it be a hooker and a French foreign exchange student both named Dominique or a character whose rehearsal of lines for a play is mistaken for real life by a pair of nosy Valley Girl types. The stories more or less overlap as the farce content escalates into the kind of far fetched unbelievablity that would be questionable in a community theater production.

To be fair, there are some actual laughs to be found here on occasion, such as nerdy Newmar's (Tony Denman) double-entendre sausage conversation with hooker Dominique, or Styles' (Renna) presentation of a very special rag named Suzy to his virgin brother. Those slightly racy bits admittedly generated a few chuckles, while the rest of the film seemed content to ply age old PG contrivances of exaggerated misunderstandings to excessive depths. The inclusion of a brief bit of nudity from the staggering buxomness of Katie Lohman (The Mummy's Kiss) and an obvious bit of body doubling for Boti Bliss seem gratuitous, as if the filmmakers were required to add some bare breasts OR ELSE!

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: All in all not a bad-looking transfer, with MGM issuing this one in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Detail is high, colors are bright, and everything looks extremely presentable.

No major compression issues or artifacting to contend with, other than some extremely minor haloing.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: With regard to audio, I wasn't expecting much from this teen sex comedy, but the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix was surprisingly full. Small details, like birds chirping when Marieh Delfino is waiting at the arboretum, were pleasing touches to a mix that could have just as easily gone with a more stripped-down presentation. Dialogue is clean and well mixed, with some nicely place directional pans across the front channels.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
0 Other Trailer(s) featuring Species III, Soul Plane, Barbershop 2, Girls Will Be Girls, Pieces of April, Coffee and Cigarettes, Saved!, Unspeakable
3 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Scott Hillenbrand, David Hillenbrand, Dave O'Brien
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The extras on this unrated edition are built around showing off yet more boobage of actress and former Playboy Playmate Katie Lohman in He Said, She Said: Behind the Scenes of the Fantasy Scene (05m:57s). Sure, there's talk from the Hillenbrands, Patrick Renna, and Marie Noelle Marquis, but this is really an excuse to show audition footage of a topless Lohman, and to basically milk another few precious onscreen moments of her implants.

Also included is a commentary track from directors Scott and David Hillenbrand, along with editor Dave O'Brien that while patently innocuous, is mostly made up of telling us what's happening onscreen. The few fragmented bits of production info, such as pointing a seldom seen mural that contains all the overlapping plot points or discussing the set design of each character's dorm rooms, are of moderate interest at best. They seem like likeable chaps, but their commentary was uneventful.

A flub filled Gag Reel (03m:46s) is provided, and to me these are always like watching paint dry, and this one is no exception. There are three Deleted Scenes, available with optional director's commentary, but the transitional sequences in total barely run two minutes so there really isn't much here. The scenes are:
Cliff and Hooker Find the Purse (01m:02s)
Claire Confides in Maria and Lynne (:27s)
Lorenzo and Claire Arrive at McMartin Hall (:25s)

National Lampoon's Master Debaters (25m:07s) is allegedly some program put out by National Lampoon Networks (whatever the hell that is), and is a debate show presided over by three white-wigged moderators whose idea of comedy is deadpanned insults delivered to contestants. In this installment, two guys debate why X-ray power is the greatest superpower, and the ep ends with a debate lightning round featuring Danielle Fishel, who arrives there after trouncing Tatyana Ali.

In addition to fair amount of trailers (including a couple of forced ones), the disc is cut into 16 chapters, with optional subtitles in English or Spanish.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

I'm a bit disturbed by the quote on the back cover that says "Dorm Daze delivers everything that made Animal House and Vacation stand alone comedies", from something called "Nolan's Pop Culture Review".

I'm disturbed because I don't know what that means, exactly, other than trying to glom onto the success of those long ago comedy classics, because there just isn't anything here that is remotely on the same level.

 


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