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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Exploitation > TV Situation Comedy > Spoof > Romance > Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star (2011/Sony Blu-ray)/The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret – Series One (2010/IFC/MPI DVD)/Saving Private Perez (2011/Pantelion/Lionsgate DVD)/What’s Your Num

Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star (2011/Sony Blu-ray)/The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret – Series One (2010/IFC/MPI DVD)/Saving Private Perez (2011/Pantelion/Lionsgate DVD)/What’s Your Number?: Ex-tended Edition (2011/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/You & I (2012/Lionsgate DVD)


Picture: B-/C/C+/B- & C/C     Sound: B-/C+/B-/B-/B-     Extras: D/C/D/C+/D     Main Programs: D/C/D/C+/D



In many past reviews, I have discussed how comedies do and do not work, but this batch is grouped together so I can show a new way to define that line.



Produced by Adam Sandler, Tom Brady’s Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star (2011) has Nick Swardson (who is always in character no matter how awful this is) about the physically, emotionally and highly oppressed (not to mention stereotypical) title character who is an absolute loser who by many chances (and in the midst of endless gross humor that is as boring and one note as all the characters) becomes a phony star success against all odds… or something like that.  Horrid, unfunny and insulting to all who gaze upon it, Stephen Dorff, Don Johnson and Christina Ricci are among the others sadly wasted (guess it was a quick paycheck, but hardly painless) and it proves that only Mike Myers and Jerry Lewis should play characters with bad teeth, because all others fail miserably.  Just awful.  Extras include BD Live interactivity and four mindless featurettes that are among the worst I have suffered through lately.



Better (what would not be) is a The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret – Series One (2010) just now being issued on DVD and wants to be a strange combo of a BritCom and U.S. sitcom as the title character (David Cross) jumps at a chance to fly to England to represent his company in quiet a jump from being an office temp, but he is there to fail and do dirty work.  However, this backfires and we start with idiotic moves, an idiot plot and a show trying to be funny, but being too cartoonish for its own good.  The later episodes remarkably pick up afterwards, but not enough to make this season work too well, though I wondered if the next season could improve with the developments of the last few shows.  See it for yourself and judge.  Extras include several featurettes, extended pilot episode, audio commentary tracks on all episodes, Q&A with Cast & Crew, Bloopers and Deleted Scenes.



We go back to bad with Beto Gomez’s Saving Private Perez (2011) which proves that any project that takes its name from the Spielberg hit, especially as a comedy spoof, is bound to be really, really bad.  Though the clichés are not as bad as in Bucky (what is?), the mother of a drug lord gets her son to find his title brother character.  From there, it just gets dumber and dumber and dumber and dumber.  I never found this funny for a moment and it was borderline offensive, though it is an import foreign comedy.  That did not help much anyhow.  A Making Of featurette is the only extras.



The one film on here that should have worked is Mark Mylod’s What’s Your Number? (2011) which is yet another film that fails to do what could potentially be a funny film all around considering it has one of the funniest women alive today in it: Anna Faris.  Barely opening in theaters and actually based on a book, Faris is a 20-something who is getting burned out on dating, especially with her sister getting married and her latest sex partner (a funny turn by Zackary Quinto) eventually boring her.  Fired from work, she reads an article in a ladies’ magazine that says any woman after 20 partners will never find true love or happiness.  With her latest partner being #20, she feels her life will be miserable until a revelation has her trying to find and find out what her previous partners have done with their lives and where they are.  Could one of them have grown up and turned into Mr. Right?


It is a perfect premise for a high concept Faris vehicle, but there are problems that keep happening to sabotage the whole thing, even though this has a few big laughs.  For one thing, editing is surprisingly sloppy and off, as well as off-putting.  As well, the script does not let Faris loose as much as it should, but being such a natural, she is funny in ways that override the script including when it cannot decide when to use foul language, which becomes an odd thing here.


The cast backing her really works including Blythe Danner perfect as her mom and Chris Evans (recently in the highly underrated Puncture and the new Captain America) proves he is a fine comic actor without having to play the slick smarty that helped put him on the map.  He and Faris even have some chemistry, but again the script gets in the way and in shades of the Halle Berry Catwoman, it is always a bad sign when the leads suddenly play a basketball game out of nowhere that stops the already troubled narrative dead cold.


However, showing how comedy can be the oddest genre, you can see Faris’ power, energy and spontaneity grow as she pulls off scenes and moments against all the troubles here.  Even most of the negative reviews did not go after her and several people all around have been pleading for someone to give her a good script.  There is something passively bold and progressive about her, her sexuality, her charm and her assertiveness that picks up where other recent actresses of comic means (including powerhouses Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock) have sort of left off in some ways.  Sher also plays counter (without many noticing) to the rollback politics against women since the 1980s, which is a hidden strength that no one has tapped into yet.


No, the film is messed up even with her co-producing and a top-rate producer like Arnon Milchan on board, but the writers and director fail through sheer inexperience and the result is one of the biggest near-misses in recent memory.  Still, if you can suffer through the problems, you might enjoy the bigger laughs.  Extras include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices, the extended & unrated cut of the film, Deleted Scenes (including flashbacks cut from the film) and a funny Gag Reel.



Finally we have the oddest of all the failures here.  Roland Joffé was once the director of important films like The Killing Fields, The Mission and Fat Man & Little Boy.  Since he put Demi Moore in a bizarre version of The Scarlet Letter, his career has never recovered.  It does not help however when you make strange lesbian teen comedies like You & I (2012) in which two gals in Russia (!?!) played by Mischa Barton and Shantel VanSanten get involved (sorry guys, it is not very graphic) in the midst of stereotypical Russian Gangster, silly global consumerism and Anton Yelchin once again wasted as a young Russian star of financial means.  Too bad he is recycling his Chekhov accent in the worst possible way.  This is a comedy, yet is also set up like a drama and cannot seem to decide which one it is.  Guess the lesbian subject matter threw the makers off, but Joffé has never been so out of his element and along with feeling like Hollywood wants to reignite some kind of dumb Cold War, this is an absolute dud with nowhere to go and at the end of its 101 long minutes is almost as embarrassing as Bucky, but at least that film one does not pretend to be more than it is.  Geez.  Extras include trailers.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on both Blu-rays can be soft and not great, with both having some nice shots, but Number (with its AVC @ 30 MBPS) has a very slight edge overall with more natural shot sand nice shots throughout, while its anamorphically enhanced DVD version is very soft to the point where it was more than I expected.  However, it has the same softer-than-expected issue that all the DVDs here have.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 on Todd is this way with some motion blur, but some nice shots here and there, the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 on Perez has been styled down (sometimes to look like a Western, et al) in bad ways and the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 on You is also styled to be the “dark side of Russia” mixed with some nice shots, furthering its confusion as a complete work.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on the Blu-rays have the best audio here as expected, but they can either be more dialogue/joke based than expected, more towards the front speakers than one might like and many scenes are simple stereo.  The situation is even weaker with the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the Number DVD, but the same sound mix on Perez is nice and active.  You has a much weaker lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that is so weak that the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Todd can more than compete with it.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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