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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
"This is the Boomerazoo, the most amazing new toy since Barbie."
DVD ReviewThanks to the success of frat-boy comedies like Road Trip and Old School, we've seen a renewed interest in schlocky '80s comedies like Porky's. This rise in popularity can also be attributed to the teen to young adult demographic discovering the National Lampoon's moniker. As a result, it seems that anyone wanting to make a quick buck off of a direct-to-DVD comedy slaps that tag before their film's title and waits for groups of sex-craved young men to grab these discs off the shelves. The latest of these was originally titled The Trouble with Frank, and is now inexplicably called National Lampoon's Pucked. However, as with most, if not all of the entries in the "franchise," this turkey should have been named National Lampoon's Complete Waste of Time.
It's difficult to know where to start with this mess. Open-mindedness is key when a potentially disastrous title like this arrives at your door, but mine would only stay open for about five minutes in this case. The pointless plot involves Frank Hopper (Jon Bon Jovi), a down-on-his-luck attorney who decides it would be fun to fill out a questionnaire where he claims to be a millionaire. This seemingly harmless survey soon turns into 200 credit cards that are now in Frank's name. What is a guy to do with a pile of credit like this? Why, buy a women's ice hockey team, of course.
While Jon Bon Jovi has proven on a couple of occasions that he can act, he has yet to attempt to carry a film by himself. This can't possibly be the same Bon Jovi we saw in U-571, as he gives the most wooden performance I've seen in ages. The guy's hair deserves separate billing, and his dialogue-delivery is so unnatural and forced, that it often sounds like there's some serious over-dubbing going on. I still have confidence in Bon Jovi as an actor, but for his next role, he should at least take the time to phone in his performance.
At least we're saved from total ridiculousness, thanks to the presence of the always-effective Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride). This guy is a consummate professional, making the most out of every poor script he reads. You would think at least one other cast member could feed off of Elwes and be at least slightly effective, but instead we're saddled with shoddy work from a Z-list cast, including David Faustino (Bud Bundy from Married...With Children), Curtis Armstrong (Booger from the Revenge of the Nerds franchise), and the lovely Estella Warren (Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes). Acting is never a strong point in National Lampoon's titles, but this is as bad as it gets in that department.
Feature-length comedy really doesn't get much worse, and most-importantly unfunny than this. If it wasn't before, the National Lampoon's tag is officially the kiss of death for any comedy. The saddest thing about that is the producers seem to want to slap that before their film's title, since there are plenty of people who will give those flicks a chance due to the guarantee of nudity and an overabundance of spoon-fed jokes. For those that want at least some wit and intelligence in their comedy, avoid this at all costs and catch one of the numerous, actually funny films sitting on DVD shelves just waiting for an audience. I guarantee you'll have a much better time than I did with Bon Jovi and pals.
Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: F
Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is surprisingly strong given the low budget, direct-to-video nature of the film. Image clarity is nice, with sharpness and detail persevering over an often muted color scheme. Sharpness and contrast levels are well-handled, while dirt, grain, and other flaws are kept to a bare minimum.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: A Dolby Digital 5.1 track serves the material well, but is subdued and undynamic. The surrounds are only used for a few music cues, and bass is virtually nonexistent, but the (poorly-written and unfunny) dialogue is crisp and clear.
Audio Transfer Grade: C+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Decoys: The Second Seduction, Attack of the Gryphon, Bottoms Up, Not Another Teen Movie, The Marsh, The King of Queens
Packaging: Keep Case
Extras Review: The only extras are a collection of Sony previews and a pair of featurettes. Dirty Old Man is a five-minute piece hosted by a man in a red robe, who interviews some of the cast. This piece is simply an excuse to show more topless girls, but that will be more than pleasing to the film's target audience.
Poonanny is nearly four minutes of the female cast proclaiming, "We need the Poonanny!" This piece is also a blatant excuse to show more topless girls, giving no insight into the making of the film.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsUnsurprisingly, the Jon Bon Jovi vehicle National Lampoon's Pucked is a laugh less exercise in painfully obvious, ineffective jokes and sight gags. Sure, there's plenty of the nudity and debauchery that we expect from the franchise, but there's nothing you'll remember for a second after the end credits roll. Sony's DVD is technically sound, and they've even thrown in a couple of nudity-heavy "featurettes" that pose as extra features.
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