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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Romance > Time Travel > TV Situation Comedy > Stand Up > Compilation > Bounce (2000)/Kate & Leopold: Director’s Cut (2001/Miramax/Lionsgate Blu-rays)/Laverne & Shirley: The Fifth Season (1979 – 1980/CBS DVD)/Sebastian Maniscalco: What’s Wrong With People? (2012/E1 DVD)/T

Bounce (2000)/Kate & Leopold: Director’s Cut (2001/Miramax/Lionsgate Blu-rays)/Laverne & Shirley: The Fifth Season (1979 – 1980/CBS DVD)/Sebastian Maniscalco: What’s Wrong With People? (2012/E1 DVD)/Timeless Family Classics (Mill Creek DVD set)


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



This set of comedies show how the genre can wear down over the decades…



We start with two early 2000s attempts by the original Miramax to have hits with romantic comedies that did not work.  Don Roos’ Bounce (2000) paired Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow in a happenstance comedy with no laughs and a romance angle that always seemed forced and contrived as he plays an ad executive who sleeps around until he crosses paths with her.  She looks good, but I never bought he would leave his life behind for her or how this unravels.  It has not dated well either and is generally boring.  Even Natasha Henstridge and Tony Goldwyn could not make this one more interesting.  Extras include a Music Video, Gag Reel, separate Additional Scenes and Deleted Scenes with optional commentary, two featurettes and a feature length audio commentary.


James Mangold’s Kate & Leopold: Director’s Cut (2001) followed with a gimmick that never works in these situations, time travel!  Hugh Jackman is a womanizer, but from the 19th Century and Meg Ryan is suddenly a 21 Century woman (the calendar changed) and they land up together in this amazingly contrived, unfunny wreck that does not work in either cut.  Their chemistry never works, the film is all over the place and it all rings false after the first five minutes.  Like Bounce, this is for diehard fans only.  Extras include Deleted Scenes with optional commentary, a featurette on the costumes, “On The Set” featurette and a feature length audio commentary by Mangold.


Laverne & Shirley: The Fifth Season (1979 – 1980) has the duo (Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams) hitting their stride as the show started to become affected by the weekly TV grind finally and even Happy Days crossovers were not working out, so I can see why a change of locale and decade was in the works.  Of the 25 half-hours episodes in this set, few stayed with me or held up since I had previously seen them over the years.  The ladies were still funny and had their chemistry, but even that was about to start wearing thin behind the scenes and this may be the last season where the show felt like the series they started out with.  We get some extras including promos for about all the episodes, but they were made later for syndication, but the four and last DVD has a brief Gag Reel worth seeing.  I just wish it were longer.


As a nice change of pace, the best entry here is Sebastian Maniscalco: What’s Wrong With People?, a 2012 stand-up comedy show that is very entertaining and even when I was not laughing outright, I was surprised how much talent, good pacing and the energy Maniscalco had.  This runs a solid 75 minutes and was a pleasant surprise.  Four mini-clips of a Photo Shoot for this project, Pictures With Fans, Sebastian’s Fans and Getting To The Stage are the brief extras.


Finally we have 50 films in a budget release set from Mill Creek dubbed Timeless Family Classics but does not have as many children’s films as expected, but many older comedies (mostly public domain) with stars like Shirley Temple, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy, Danny Kaye and Mickey Rooney, but it also includes more than a few dramas that should not really be in this set with the likes of Gary Cooper and Carole Lombard.  Why films about robbery, the West, war and gangsters are included is bizarre, but they are here.  There are no extras.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Bounce and especially the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Kate are from older HD masters like most Miramax/Lionsgate Blu-rays (though the Echo Bridge/Miramax Blu-rays are reportedly far worse!) and disappoint with soft edges, grain and a lack of depth and color.  The 1.33 X 1 color image on episodes of Laverne can actually compete with Kate in overall quality and has consistently good prints used for their transfers, while the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on People (with limited motion blur since the HD shoot is of stand up work) is equally watchable.  The 1.33 X 1 image (or something like it) on the various prints on the Family film set is obviously still the worse, with many copies looking like they came off of YouTube, including all kinds of compression.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on the Blu-rays fare better than their picture quality, but Kate still has soundfield limits and issues, but Bounce is the best sounding of all the titles here as someone did not botch the original digital soundmix and it is pretty warm and consistent for the most part.  Kate is also too much towards the front speakers.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Laverne is good for its age across all episodes, while the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on People has some healthy Pro Logic surrounds.


That leaves the wildly and usually inconsistent, problematic and varied, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the Family set as rough as anything, but some of the films have better sound than you might expect, but others are as awful as the picture.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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