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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Worth Winning (1989)

"Ladies' day at the races. I'm a happy guy."
- Taylor Worth (Mark Harmon)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: June 08, 2005

Stars: Mark Harmon
Other Stars: Madeline Stowe, Lelley Ann Warren, Maria Holvoe
Director: Will Mackenzie

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (adult language, sexual situations)
Run Time: 01h:42m:28s
Release Date: June 07, 2005
UPC: 024543173397
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D+ D+C-C- D-

DVD Review

The rather brief stardom that Mark Harmon enjoyed in the 1980s began with his memorable role on TV's St. Elsewhere, and culminated in a brief string of starring roles in Hollywood fare like Summer School and The Presidio. Another of those film roles was 1989's Worth Winning, a film that was more notable for the semi-launching of Madeleine Stowe's career than anything. This was also Harmon's last bona fide Hollywood vehicle, as he wallowed in basic obscurity until the success of the 1990s TV show, Chicago Hope.

Worth Winning is pure '80s romantic comedy fluff, complete with a preposterous plot, enormous holes in said plot, wild hair, and ridiculous clothing (check out some of Ms. Stowe's outfits!). There's even the whole "protagonist talks directly into the camera" gag that worked so effectively in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and fails miserably here. Those are only a few of the aspects that led to the film's pathetic box-office take, and Harmon's subsequent banishment to TV movies and direct-to-video projects until his current run on Navy NCIS.

The protagonist in question is Taylor Worth (Harmon), a weatherman who has no problem getting any woman he wants, whenever he wants. Being the overconfident, arrogant womanizer that he is, Taylor makes a bet with a friend that he can get engaged to three different women at one time. The women he chooses are a receptionist for the Philadelphia Eagles (Maria Holvöe), a housewife (Lesley Ann Warren), and a woman who hated him the first time she met him (Stowe).

Of course, everything goes well at first, with Taylor able to easily woo two of the women and eventually win over Stowe's character as well. Like so many similarly themed comedies, Taylor is eventually found out by the women he is deceiving. However, after they have exacted their revenge against him, he realizes that he is truly in love with one of them. Stop me if this sounds like every other romantic comedy from the last 20 years.

This is one of those films that I remember having seen a few times and liking quite a bit when it first came out on home video. Of course, I was much younger and liked many more movies than I should have, and, after seeing this for the first time in at least 10 years, I had one of those "what was I thinking?" moments. Mark Harmon is generally likeable in most of his projects (especially Summer School), but this is definitely not one of them. His incredible smugness makes it easy to despise him from the first frame forward, and nothing he does during the course of the running time changes that.

I felt bad for Lesley Ann Warren, whose job seemed to be modeling sexy lingerie instead of acting. Maria Holvöe is rather awful, so it's no surprise that she virtually dropped off the face of the Earth after this performance. The only solid work comes from Madeleine Stowe, who can't come close to her excellent performance in 12 Monkeys, but does all that she can to enhance the film, even with the limited quality material that she's been given.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: This double-sided disc features both a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, and a pan-and-scan one as well. It goes without saying that the widescreen transfer should be the only one we're paying any attention to, but both presentations have their issues. An overabundance of soft images plague both versions, with colors being very muted almost all of the time. Shadows were handled well, and contrast is nice, but I've seen this look better on TV in the past.

Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio isn't very impressive either, without even a smidgen of surround activity of bass. The crisp dialogue is the track's only saving grace, but it's even muffled by various sound effects at times, as well.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The only extra feature is a trailer for Worth Winning.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Worth Winning finally comes to DVD from Fox Home Video, but, frankly, we could have waited longer, much longer. The audio and video presentations are average, at best, and the film's trailer is all there is in the extras department.


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