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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > The Extra Man (2010/Magnolia Blu-ray)/Patrik, Age 1.5 (2008/E1 DVD)/Three & Out (2010/E1 DVD)/White Wedding (2008/Image Blu-ray)/The Year Of Getting To Know Us (2008/E1 Blu-ray)

The Extra Man (2010/Magnolia Blu-ray)/Patrik, Age 1.5 (2008/E1 DVD)/Three & Out (2010/E1 DVD)/White Wedding (2008/Image Blu-ray)/The Year Of Getting To Know Us (2008/E1 Blu-ray)


Picture: B-/C/C+/B-/C+     Sound: B-/C+/B-/B+/B-     Extras: C+/C-/C/C-/C-     Films: C+/C/C/B-/C-


Comedies as a genre have fallen into their various ruts and five recent releases show how, including one that sometimes overcomes that rut.



The Extra Man (2010 is yet another film that tries to tell us that because Kevin Kline is funny, we should think he is funny and therefore, he is funny.  This did not save Wild, Wild West and does not always work in this mixed tale of class division where Klein is a man without money who thinks he knows the upper classes, Paul Dano is a recently unemployed young man who moved to where he is and gets involved when they meet and Dano is sidetracked by Katie Holmes as an environmentalist.  This wants to be a quirky comedy, but co-directors Sheri Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini are too all over the place with this one.  You might want to see this one if you are interested, but skip it otherwise.  John C. Reilly also shows up being wacky and extras include two feature length audio commentary tracks, an HDNET show promoting this release, Cartoon Clips Voice Over Recording, Trailers for other Magnolia releases and Deleted Scenes that would not have helped.


Patrik, Age 1.5 (2008) is about a gay couple in Norway who are thrilled that they will adopt a young baby boy only 1 ½ years old.  They prepare, celebrate and brace for the new arrival, but when a typographical error sends them a 15-year-old boy who is also homophobic, their lives are set into a tailspin.  Writer/Director Ella Lemhagen’s adaptation of the Michael Druker book is a mix of predictability, some good jokes and a few good moments.  Too bad it is not much more, but the chance to examine the situation or do a character study of anything is simply passed on for laughs.  The result is several missed opportunities, but the locations are a plus.  A trailer is the only extra.


Jonathan Gershfield’s Three & Out (2010) is a mixed comedy that has some laughs, but becomes muddled and repetitious after the first half-hour as a subway train driver (Mackenzie Crook) is not able to stop in time beyond his control from running over and killing two different people.  This upsets him, yet he discovers that he’ll get early paid retirement (ten years worth) if this happens again!  He gets a disturbed, unhappily married man (Colm Meaney) to volunteer to be that third victim, but might just get more craziness out of things than expected.  Imelda Stanton plays the mother, Gemma Arterton the daughter and it does achieve a certain quirkiness, but it looses its narrative way early on and never recovers.  It was good while it worked though.  Extras include a Making Of featurette and Deleted Scenes.


Jann Turner’s White Wedding (2008) is the nice surprise out of the five releases here, telling the tale of a man (Kenneth Nkosi) trying to get to his wedding and missing the bus to his bachelor party, which becomes a bad omen of delays to come.  The road trip movie becomes a political one as shades of Apartheid still live in the South African locales he crosses and when he is joined by a white woman (Jodie Whitaker) who happens to be going his way, that only makes it more awkward.  I liked the film’s sense of humor, smart script, good acting and twists on the tired wedding film formula.  Like the best road movies, it takes us places we have not been before and has energy that we don’t see enough in any film.  A trailer is the only extra.


Finally, we save the worst for last with Patrick Sisam’s The Year Of Getting To Know Us (2008) which has comedian/talk show host Jimmy Fallon once again proving he cannot act as the lead in this unfunny tale of a man who has everything and is not as happy as he might be.  He has a girlfriend (Lucy Liu) who wants him to get serious, but his past with his parents (Sharon Stone and Tom Arnold in good performances) is coming back to haunt him.  This is not funny at all, does not know what is and is not truly funny and Fallon is awful simply playing himself.  Wow is this a dud and he thinks just showing up and reading the lines is sufficient.  Yawn!  A Press Conference with the director and cast (including Illeana Douglas) is includes as an extra.



The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Wedding is better than on Year, but both have detail and depth issues, though Year seems to look cheaper and weaker still.  Wedding has some demo shots none of the five releases have.  That leaves the 1080p 2.35 digital High Definition image on Extra the second best looking release here, while Three (which has some good shots) and Patrik (which is sadly the weakest here, despite some great location shots) sport anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 DVD transfers.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on the Blu-rays of Extra and Year are dialogue-based and only go so far, but Wedding is the clear winner here with an amazing, surprisingly active, lively and well-designed soundfield with constant activity throughout that is not co-dependent on its music.  Three has a dialogue-based Dolby Digital 5.1 mix not far off from the Extra and Year soundmasters and sadly, Patrik has a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundmix that is the weakest, despite some sound and music surprises.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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