Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Blind Date (1987)
"One little glass isn't gonna make you go crazy."- Walter Davis (Bruce Willis)
Stars: Bruce Willis, Kim Basinger, John Larroquette
Other Stars: William Daniels, Phil Hartman
Director: Blake Edwards
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and adult situations
Run Time: 01h:35m:08s
Release Date: 2002-02-05
DVD ReviewAnyone who has ever been on a date can surely remember at least one awful experience. At the time, these awkward events seem like a human being's worst nightmare, but in retrospect it is these kind of experiences that often turn out to make the funniest stories. This is the basic premise of Blake Edward's Blind Date, a comedy about a disaster date where each new event plummets further into catastrophe, including the entertainment value of the movie.At the start of the film we meet Walter Davis, played by a young Bruce Willis with a full head of hair. Walter is a frazzled man who is overworked, under-appreciated and in dire need of female companionship. When he ends up desperately needing a date for an important corporate function, he enlists the help of his shady brother, Ted, played enjoyably by the late great Phil Hartman. During the brief meeting between the two brothers, one clearly gets the impression that Walter might be better off going through an escort service. Ted sets Walter up with Nadia, played by Kim Basinger, and offers Walter one simple guideline for their night together, "Don't get her drunk, she loses control!" Obviously an ambiguous statement, Walter decides to go with his urges and offers Nadia some champagne; naturally, wackiness ensues.This setup and the chaotic results of Nadia's allergic reaction to alcohol actually make engagingly fun entertainment, and I found myself enjoying the first half of Blind Date, no matter how silly it was. However, it is at the film's halfway point where the story takes a drastic nosedive, and any semblance of entertainment turns into a jumbled mess. Walter begins to careen out of control and performs a madcap decent into madness, but for what reason I am not really sure. Ultimately, he becomes solely responsible for the consequences of the evening's events, which seems to go against the filmmakers' intentions of Walter's troubles being a direct result of Nadia's spitfire drunkenness. John Larroquette provides a few funny moments as Nadia's ex-boyfriend, and normally his psychotic overacting might be a welcome breath of fresh air in such a dull movie. Yet again, it is right around the middle of the movie where his one-note performance becomes painfully wearing, and I found myself begging for him to tone it down and give some sense of depth to his character. Ultimately, the story should have focused primarily on the night of the date rather than the aftermath of its oddball events. Instead, we get fifteen minutes of jokes that actually work and are then left with irrelevant, mindless fluff and a seemingly infinite amount of sight gags that are neither funny nor entertaining.Blake Edwards is somewhat of a strange choice for this inane project, yet with his long and elegant steadicam shots he is able to save Blind Date from being altogether disastrous. Nevertheless, his professionalism and unique style cannot make up for the fact that he is working with a lackluster script and one-dimensional characters. As a result, the film is without any sense of charm that is found in far superior Blake Edwards films such as 10 and Victor/Victoria. Bruce Willis is also an odd choice for this picture, as his charismatic persona seems a little out of place when playing the bumbling nerd. Yet, Willis does present charm in his character, and through his performance it is fairly easy to see signs of his super stardom yet to come. Kim Basinger adds sexiness wrapped in an elusive everyday girl quality as Walter's nightmare date, but she also plays her character too distinctly between staggeringly drunk and solemnly sober. Regardless of how good or bad either one of their performances are, Willis and Basinger do not appear to have any sort of chemistry together, from their initial encounter right up until their ridiculous meeting at the end. As a result, viewers will more than likely not care what happens to either of them by the end of the film. I know I didn't. My less than subtle review obviously reveals that I was not particularly thrilled with Blind Date. But don't take my word for it, it could be right up the alley of viewers who like their entertainment routine, mindless, and sometimes tasteless.
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C-
|Aspect Ratio||2.35:1 - Widescreen||1.33:1 - P&S|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes||no|
Image Transfer Review: The 2.35:1 anamorphic image transfer serves its purpose effectively, although the picture definitely shows signs of age. Overall, it exhibits a soft and grainy image, with the latter at times overwhelming. Shimmering and pixelization are frequent; both are capable of distracting even the less discerning viewer. Color is often accurately rendered, from the light brown office interiors to the boldness of Basinger's red dress, but some colors and hues are also slightly subdued throughout. Black level is decent, appearing deep and solid in most scenes, though not as rich as one might hope. Contrast is accurately balanced and reveals pleasant shadow detail; I never found white level to be harsh or a strain on my eyes. Generally, the widescreen image does faithfully recreate the theatrical experience, but nothing can take away from the fact that the picture looks dated.A 1:33.1 pan & scan version is also available for those who are into butchery. Be sure to watch this version with a six-pack of low quality beer by your side.
Image Transfer Grade: C
|DS 2.0||English, French||yes|
Audio Transfer Review: The original 2.0 Dolby Surround track has been preserved on this DVD, and it is a major sonic disappointment. The majority of the soundtrack is mono-centric, even when a more enveloping presence should have been utilized. This makes for a distracting experience and often leaves the listener wishing for a more fulfilling sense of sound envelopment. On the rare occasion that the soundfield does open up, such as for mild, ambient effects, it conveys a very unnatural sonic character. Stereo separation across the front soundstage is virtually non-existent, as is any semblance of bass. Perhaps the most annoying characteristic of the soundtrack is the dialogue, which almost always sounds strident and heavily ADR-produced. It does succeed in effectively telling the story, but it is also heavily wanting in fidelity.
Audio Transfer Grade: C-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: Upon inserting the disc into the player, we are initially greeted with an aspect ratio selection screen, which allows the viewer to choose between the 2.35:1 original aspect ratio or 1.33:1 pan & scan. Two small images are shown demonstrating each format, making it clear how much of the original picture is missing when a 2.35:1 image is cropped to 1.33:1. This provides a nice lesson for what happens to art when it is desecrated.The only real extra on the entire disc is the theatrical trailer, presented in 1.85:1 nonanamorphic widescreen. In an effort to most likely lull the 1980s' audience into a sense of familiarity and ease, the trailer is set to the music from Beverly Hills Cop.The most extensive feature offered is the multitude of subtitle options available for the main feature. Now people all over Region 1 can enjoy Blind Date in such languages as Thai, Portuguese, and Korean.In this day and age where new releases are packed to the brim with special features spanning multiple discs, the lack of extras for Blind Date is a definite surprise and a major disappointment. C'mon, even 80s' movies have a history behind them! At the very least, a Blake Edwards and/or Bruce Willis commentary would have been very welcome and appropriate, but instead we are left with virtually nothing.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsPerhaps worthy of a rental, Blind Date hardly seems worthy of a purchase. While the film itself appears to be faithfully reproduced, the lack of extras is a glaring oversight and spoils what could have at least been a nice collector's item. Fans of Blind Date should hold off and remain hopeful for a more carefully produced special edition sometime in the near future.
Brian Calhoun 2002-02-05