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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Relationships > Romance > A Beautiful Life (2007/Image DVD) + EveryDay (2010/Image Blu-ray) + Spooner (2009/Maya DVD)

A Beautiful Life (2007/Image DVD) + EveryDay (2010/Image Blu-ray) + Spooner (2009/Maya DVD)


Picture: C (EveryDay: B-)     Sound: C+     Extras: D/C/D     Films: C/C+/C-



Comedies that allow their comedy to be a background to a dramatic story run the risk of not working more often than not and now, here are three such examples that could not juggle to two properly.



Alejandro Chomski’s A Beautiful Life (2007) is the least comic of these films, a film that wants to be urban, serious and offer serious conflict, yet have some sort of comedy in it.  It takes up to the “dark side” of Los Angeles, but this never works because it has little to say about a locale that is too played out to do this kind of story and the result is a work that may have some good actors (Bai Ling, Debi Mazar, Dana Delany, Jesse Garcia, Jonathan LaPaglia and Angela Sarafyan), but the Wendy Hammond/Deborah Calla screenplay never adds up like it could have.


We have a man trying to shoot a female screenplay, so the female discourse does not work.  Then there is the minority woman and minority discourse, which also does not gel.  Though this has potential, some good acting and a few good moments, it started to have problems early and never recovered.  Nice try, though.


Writer/Director Richard Levine’s EveryDay (2010) wants to be an honest story about a family dealing with personal problems including a father (Live Schreiber finally not playing a bad guy) not always happy with his marriage and having an affair, his wife (Helen Hunt) having to deal with an unhappy marriage and a sick father (Brian Dennehy) who is annoying, and a son (Erza Miller) who is openly gay (a stand-in for the director apparently) trying to have a life and meet friends and other similar males, but his father is uncomfortable with all of it.


This starts many things that are never finished, especially the gay storyline which is partly edited down (you can see this in the extras) and like everything else here, never seems to resolve itself.  More exposition all around would have been nice and the father subplot (he has a goofy boss in Eddie Izzard and an affair with the ever-sexy Carla Golino) gets too much of the attention, making the attempt at a multi-layered storyline tip over. Some good moments though and it is the best release here by default.


That leaves the poorest, Drake Doremus’ Spooner (2009) with Matthew Lillard (has he ever really made a good film?) as the title character, a car salesman still stuck at home at age 30 without much of a future and not seeing anyone.  His father (Christopher McDonald) wants him to leave and so, he has to do something to fins a new place to be.  Work is not going so well, but then he meets Rose (Nora Zehetner) who he falls for and that changes everything.


This potentially could have been a breakout work for Lillard, currently the voice of Shaggy (on screen and in animation for Warner Bros.), but this is just content for being slight, flat, mumblecore dullness with nothing to say, no jokes that work and no guts to really dig deep into the characters or subject.  Before you know it, it is all over and a waste of time.  Too bad, because if the chemistry between the Lillard and Zehetner characters had been explored, this could have been a breakthrough for the stars and director.  Instead, it is not.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 DVDs are softer than expected with motion blur, color issues and weak overall presentations, while the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on EveryDay has fullness lacking in the DVDs, yet also has more motion blur than expected.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix is only narrowly better than the Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on the DVDs, all of which are dialogue-based and limited in soundfield.  EveryDay is the only title with extras and include Deleted Scenes, Cast Interviews and a Trailer.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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