Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Cupid and Cate (2000)
“Here, take my purse. We are going to the hospital so I can have a baby.”- Cate (Mary Louise Parker)
Stars: Peter Gallagher, Mary Louise Parker
Other Stars: Phillip Bosco, Bebe Neuwirth, Joanna Going, David Lansbury
Director: Brent Shields
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for nothing offensive
Run Time: 01h:38m:24s
Release Date: 2003-01-21
DVD ReviewEvery once in awhile you have to accept that there are going to be things about which you are flat out wrong. In my case, it would be when I assume I won't like a film just by looking at the cover or plot synopsis and then am pleasantly surprised to have found the film a worthwhile excursion, one that fills me with happiness for whatever the running length. I was prepared to pass Cupid and Cate off as a trite and overly melodramatic romantic "dramedy," but to my surprise, thanks to some very winning performances, the film is a cut above others in the genre.
Cate (Parker) is a successful but quirky (aren't they always) second-hand clothing store owner with a seemingly normal life. She is engaged to Phillip (Lansbury) and is content with living the rest of her life by routine. Coming from a large, dysfunctional family, Cate's life is put under the microscope by her abusive father, who ends every statement aimed at Cate with a degrading remark. Her sisters, each of which are wildly successful in their chosen professions, see that something is lacking in her life, so they introduce Cate to Harry (Gallagher) and the pair immediately hit it off. Things are perfect until Harry is diagnosed with Leukemia, which challenges the strength of their marriage.
The basis of the script, from the novel Cupid and Diana by Christina Bartolomeo, is that of a middle-aged woman who finds happiness later in life. It is a tried and true element for many made-for-television weepers and there is little to bring a great change to the genre here. If you look beyond the trappings brought on by tragedy, the film is winsome in its portrayal of forgiveness between family members. The slight flaw here is that characters are stereotypes and it is difficult to grasp the emotions that the actors attempt to convey. Slowly, though, the story receives a boost of energy because of the talented cast, and you do begin to feel for the characters and their situations. The downside is that this happens late in the film, making the overall outcome very uneven.
Also, illness in Harry feels a bit tacked on. The romance between Cate and Harry lacks a sense of real passion or, at the very least, something that would make Harry's character amount to something more than a propellant for the plot to venture into drearier tones. On top of this, the pair do not become romantically involved until the film is well into its second half, which leaves very little time for the viewer to enjoy the relationship before tragedy strikes.
As mentioned above, it is the cast that makes Cupid and Cate stand out from the crowded genre, highlighted by a terrific performance by Phillip Bosco as Cate's overly cynical father. Bosco brings energy to the role and as the film goes along, it is easy to sympathize with the characters' long life of hardships. Parker and Gallagher generate nice chemistry when they have quiet moments together, which sadly is not that often. Capable supporting work is delivered nicely by Joanna Going, Brenda Fricker, and Bebe Neuwirth.
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Presented in a full-frame transfer, Cupid and Cate looks nice, but given the recent release of the film I expected the image to be better. Sharpness and detail are quite nice, but there is strong grain throughout the film that never really goes away. Colors are rendered nicely with no bleeding or oversaturation.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround track never really ventures beyond the front soundstage. The good news is that the dialogue is crisp and clear with no dropouts or noticeable distortion. The surround speakers are used sparingly, largely as reinforcement for the musical score.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 25 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Extras Review: Extensive cast and crew biographies make up the extra features found on the Cupid and Cate DVD.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsAs the latest in the ever-growing list of entries in the Hallmark Hall of Fame library, Cupid and Cate is a nice addition. But with only an above-average transfer as well as no substantial extra features, I just can't recommend it as a purchase.
Kevin Clemons 2003-03-19