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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Hexed (1993)

"We're gonna have such fun! There are so many sex games we can play. Do you have mayonnaise and a rake?"
- Hexina (Claudia Christian)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: July 04, 2005

Stars: Arye Gross, Claudia Christian, Adrienne Shelly
Other Stars: Ray Baker, R. Lee Ermey, Michael E. Knight, Robin Curtis, Brandis Kemp, Norman Fell
Director: Alan Spencer

MPAA Rating: R for sexuality and language
Run Time: 01h:32m:37s
Release Date: July 05, 2005
UPC: 043396090743
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+AB+ A

DVD Review

After having significant success with the cult hit Sledge Hammer!, creator Alan Spencer was given the opportunity to do a feature film. Unfortunately for all concerned, Spencer didn't have the level of creative control that he was used to in the series, and even though he wrote and directed the film, it's not quite what he intended, as he makes clear in the commentary. The film does nonetheless work pretty well on its own terms, though not as the erotic-thriller spoof that the studio tried to market it.

Perennial loser Matthew Welsh (Arye Gross) is a hotel clerk at the Holiday Palace. In an attempt to elevate his dismal life, he creates a variety of persona to crash parties and give himself a more interesting life. When supermodel Hexina (Claudia Christian) comes to the hotel for a mysterious stay, Matthew tries to find an opportunity to meet and date her. That opportunity comes when he intercepts a phone call intended for her from a Henry Pratt, whom Hexina is supposed to meet for the first time. Masquerading as Pratt, Matthew can hardly believe his good fortune as Hexina seems enamored of him. Unfortunately for Matthew, Pratt has been blackmailing her and she intends to kill him. Things go from bad to worse for Matthew as he finds himself not only in danger for his life but framed for the homicides that Hexina is quickly racking up.

The film isn't really a spoof, but a comedy on its own terms. However, the satire of the Fatal Attraction kitchen sex scene actually does work pretty well, going way over the top to be entertaining (even though Spencer on the commentary less-then-credibly attempts to deny any intention of spoofing that film). The funniest bits are the throwaway comedy bits that appear incidentally, such as the silly items that appear on the walls of Pratt's house. The cascading misfortunes that descend upon Matthew as a result of his deceptions are also humorous; while they give him a certain amount of karmic retribution, they also instill suspense since we're pretty sympathetic and won over by his charm. It's easier to root for him since he's also put upon by the assistant manager of the hotel, smarmy and vicious Simon Littlefield (All My Children's Michael E. Knight). By comparison, Matthew feels like a gem.

Gross is quite good in the lead role, playing the part as a bit of a nebbish but not to an overwhelming extent, making his chameleonlike efforts quite credible. Claudia Christian (best known from Babylon 5) is pretty amazing as Hexina, both in her physicality and willingness to go to absurd lengths for comedy. The supporting cast is entertaining, with Norman Fell giving an amusing turn as the manager of the hotel. R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket), with his dry and acerbic nature, makes a great police detective. His casual attitude towards the brutality of his officers is funny even in light of the Rodney King incident. It's one of those moments that you know you shouldn't be laughing at, but it's done so well you can't help it. Adrienne Shelly, as Matthew's admiring and mousy but frustrated friend is adequate, but she doesn't have a lot to work with in a part that mostly just has her feeding Gross straight lines.

There aren't a lot of R-rated comedies that really make sex and sexuality their focus, other than teen sex comedies. It's interesting to see the subject matter handled between adults in an alternately witty and juvenile fashion. It's not a rapid-fire comedy in the Zucker Brothers mold, but it does manage more than its share of good laughs.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen picture looks terrific. There's excellent color and good black levels. The usual needless edge enhancement one finds on Columbia releases is absent here, and although the film is rather grainy (it was low-budget and largely shot on location), the grain is exceptionally well-rendered and doesn't look sparkly or anything other than like film. An excellent transfer all the way around.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround English track is clear, with a good soundstage. There's not a lot of directionality, though. Bass levels are adequate for a comedy, since there's not much to use an LFE channel for in any event.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Japanese, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Little Black Book, 50 First Dates, The Sweetest Thing, D.E.B.S., Stripes
3 Deleted Scenes
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by writer/director Alan Spencer
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:07m:04s

Extras Review: Although it's not billed as a special edition, Columbia tosses on plenty of extras. Foremost is an informative commentary from creator Alan Spencer, who remains a very funny guy, despite some bitter experiences on this picture. Anyone who has listened to his Sledge Hammer! commentaries knows that he can fill time like a master, and he's got tons of entertaining anecdotes and amusing stories about the filming and the problems in production. He also points out things that the studio made him change. It's too bad the materials for a true director's cut weren't available for this. A promotional featurette from the period, running 3m:55s contains the usual fluff but also has some interesting on-set material. Three deleted sceenes, each with optional commentary from Spencer, provide some materials from the TV version and other scenes that the studio required be removed, including Norman Fell doing Shylock. Finally, there's an anamorphic widescreen trailer, as well as trailers for other miscellaneous comedies that have nothing to do with this feature.

Extras Grade: A

 

Final Comments

Fans of Alan Spencer and Claudia Christian will be very happy to see this cult item with its first-rate presentation.

 


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