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Anchor Bay presents
Martin & Orloff (2002)

Martin: Suicide.
Dr. Orloff: What?
Martin: I was in for suicide.
Dr. Orloff: Attempted suicide. There's a big difference.

- Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: September 19, 2005

Stars: Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts
Other Stars: David Cross, Amy Poehler, Kim Raver, Matt Besser, Sal Graziano, Katie Roberts, Les Mau, Andy Richter, Janeane Garofalo, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Miriam Tolan
Director: Lawrence Blume

Manufacturer: Crest National
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language)
Run Time: 01h:25m:17s
Release Date: September 20, 2005
UPC: 013131306798
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-BB A-

DVD Review

In Martin & Orloff, exasperated ad exec Martin Flam (Ian Roberts) has just been released from the nuthouse after a failed suicide attempt. One of his first tasks, after cleaning up his leftover blood in the bathtub, is to return to his high pressure job in order to overcome the effects of "the egg roll incident." In order to facilitate his recovery, he visits psychiatrist Dr. Eric Orloff (Matt Walsh), a dangerously off-kilter type who seems more unstable than his patients, and who leads Martin through a bizarre series of situations, including encounters with ditzy strippers, a well-hung ex-football player, and a maniacal Asian food company executive with a dislike for character costume eye holes.

Walsh and Roberts are two-fourths of the Upright Citizens Brigade (along with Amy Poehler and Matt Besser), though this is not officially a UCB movie, even if Poehler and Besser appear in fairly substantial supporting roles here. The film was written by Walsh, Roberts and Katie Roberts, made in 2002, and directed by Lawrence Blume. Though not a formal "reunion", there is the identifiable stamp of the UCB weirdness in every frame of Martin & Orloff, from the leftfield themes to the improv feel and flow of the comic dialogue between Walsh and Roberts.

If you like your comedy safe and sound, with no real variations from the realm of normal and ordinary, a film like Martin & Orloff may not where you want to be, because that's not the way Walsh and Roberts operate. The very basic tenets of traditional comedy are there (the mismatched buddy picture), but it is often wrapped in awkwardly funny exchanges or caustic bursts of comic rage that build upon the already cockeyed plot where jokes and gags move in often unimaginable directions. The appeal is that dangling level of uncertainty, the kind where there isn't a firm preconception that the story will follow normal A-to-B-to-C guidelines.

In addition to appearances by Besser and Poehler (who I think is a vastly underrated comic performer), Martin & Orloff sports a fine cross-section of supporting players, including co-writer Katie Roberts, 24's Kim Raver, as well as David Cross as an effeminate dinner theater director with a penchant for long, rambling phone calls, while Andy Richter, Janeane Garofalo (in a towering blonde wig), Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch also show up during the dinner theater scene.

Like a good comedy should, Martin & Orloff does not overstay its welcome, and roars along for a comically satisfying 85 minutes without beating the proverbial dead horse. The storyline is mercurial enough that anticipating how things will resolve themselves is pretty much impossible (especially the climactic sparerib sequence), but that's just part of that unpredictable nature of the UCB approach to comedy that is apparently ingrained in Walsh and Roberts.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.77:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Anchor Bay has issued Martin & Orloff under their DiviMax banner, and the 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer generally looks pretty solid—but not exceptional—though considering this is an indie film the transfer looks strong. The print is free of any debris or nicks, though there is a modest amount of fine grain, but colors look pleasing and natural, with image detail being somewhat soft. Exterior shots fare best in terms of brightness and clarity, while a handful of interior scenes (such as the dinner theater) sport comparatively weak black levels.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio choices are available in either 2.0 stereo surround and Dolby Digital 5.1. Being a comedy, the presentation doesn't call for much in the way of fancy sound cues to dress things up, and the dialogue on either track is clear and discernible. There is a bit more of a spatial feel across the front channels with the 5.1 option, as one might expect, it's the preferred choice on this particular disc.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Deleted Scenes
1 Alternate Endings
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Lawrence Blume, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: There is a pretty funny and wickedly dry commentary track from director Lawrence Blume and writer/actors Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh. Well, actually it's Roberts and Walsh go off on wacky mock tangents while Blume occasionally interjects legit production info, and small moments like a character with mayonnaise on his face launches into a long story about how it was allegedly based on a real situation, though they're unclear whether it was a sandwich or a wrap. Comments like "this scene is the most important scene in movie history", a long ramble on masturbation, or that the softball game sequence that "was filmed on green screen in Barbra Streisand's garage" may, out of context, not translate well on paper, but Roberts and Walsh have a natural, sarcastic rhythm together that makes this track full of some great laughs.

Also included are a couple of Dan Wasserman Deleted Scenes (02m:41s), and these feature David Cross' character making phone calls to Dr. Orloff. One is an alternate take of the one featured in the final film, and the second one seems more like a test shot, because there is a lot odd shadows, but it's Cross and it's funny. Dinner Theater Bloopers (01m:34s) is a brief peek at some line flubs during the Mint Julep Club bit, and the only real redeeming value is the chance to see Janeane Garofalo in her big blonde wig. Makeup Tests (01m:08s), which features closeup test footage of Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts and Katie Roberts, has a few off camera ad lib chuckles, but seems like an odd choice as an extra. Not so with the quirky weirdness of the (nudity free) Astronaut Striptease (01m:31s), presenting the long version of the dance done during the strip club scene. An alternate ending (01m:42s) features Jon Benjamin's character launching into a love song that suddenly morphs into something very unromantic.

A clever foldout insert sports The Official Martin & Orloff Board Game ("Congratulations! Your suicide attempt was successful. Take your piece off the board, dead person") and fictitiously detailed chapter descriptions ("This scene is not only a montage but an experiment with time travel") written by Walsh and Roberts. Funny? Yep.

The disc is cut into 16 chapters.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts are two funny guys, especially if you like comedy that moves in weird directions. Martin & Orloff is a loose variation on the mismatched buddy picture concept, driven by a subtext of attempted suicide humor, life-threatening character costumes, and the dangers of pooping in someone's sink.

It takes a lot for a comedy to make me laugh, and this one did it easily. But maybe I'm just twisted that way.

Highly recommended.

 


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