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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer

Picture Perfect

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 98 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Remember way back in the dark ages when TV sitcom Friends had become a huge hit in America but had yet to be shown here? Those long-forgotten days when nobody in the country knew Jennifer Aniston from a bar of soap, when the name “Chandler” meant Electrical Retailer and “Joey” meant “baby kangaroo”, when nobody really believed a human being could get paid a million dollars a week to stretch out a tired joke, and when casting agents weren’t deluged by sitcom stars desperate to have a film career “after the laughter stops”.

Way back then, Picture Perfect probably wouldn’t have been made. But if it was, it probably would have starred Julia Roberts.

Put forward as a vehicle for Friends star Aniston to ply her comic trade on celluloid with, Picture Perfect is - surprise, surprise - a romantic comedy. Aniston’s character of Rachel on her sitcom is a young urban professional woman with a tress problem and a seriously bad track record in relationships; not surprisingly, that’s an exact description of her character here as well. She plays Kate Mosley, a fresh young advertising-agency employee with big ideas. When the rest of the agency’s brains trust is stumped, she hatches a perfect slogan for one of their clients, and fully expects to be promoted to a position in the company from where she could look after the campaign. But her overtly upper-class boss Mr Mercer (Kevin Dunn) won’t promote her - because unlike the rest of the women in the agency, she is not married and “may run off at any moment”. Oddly, the unashamedly lurid multi-partner lifestyle of defiantly single male employee Sam Mayfair (Kevin Bacon) doesn’t seem to bother the company in the same way. Faced with an upset and cursing Kate, colleague Darcy (Illeana Douglas) tells the management that Kate is engaged to be married to a man in a photo taken of her at a friend’s wedding (Jay Mohr). She gets the job instantly. Trouble is, she’s only met the man once - and she’s certainly not engaged to him. She maintains the lie and gets to sleep with Sam (played by Kevin Bacon, he likes bedding “unavailable” women) - until her mythical “husband-to-be” makes it onto the news as a hero, and she is forced to bring him to dinner with her bosses. And so an arrangement is made…

Pretty much your standard-issue kooky-relationship comedy, Picture Perfect is as predictable as they come, but does manage to be quite likeable for much of its running time thanks to some often-clever direction by Glenn Gordon Caron (he’s used to this kind of stuff - he produced and wrote for TV series Moonlighting) as well as a pair of winning performances from Jay Mohr (who’s nicely understated) and Kevin Bacon (obviously having fun, and simultaneously granting this film a Bacon Factor of zero). Olympia Dukakis does a terrific over-the-top high-volume mother in the best scene of her limited screen time. And Aniston is actually perfect for the role of Kate - in fact, she’s much better for this role than she is for Friends’ Rachel. Undoubtedly your decision whether or not to watch this film will be based on whether or not you’re a Jennifer Aniston fan, but if you’re tied to the sofa and forced to watch it you might be pleasantly surprised at how fluffily likeable it all is. Not memorable in the least, sure, but definitely likeable.

The only spanner in the works is the way everything’s tied up at the end of the film. You know within the first fifteen minutes how it’s all going to turn out, but the way in which it’s done is rather, well, silly - which perhaps was the idea, but ultimately it just comes across as clumsy and dumb.

  Video
Contract

Presented at its theatrically correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio and 16:9 enhanced, Picture Perfect looks a lot better than expected on DVD. With a very clean film source used and obvious care having been taken with the transfer, there’s little to complain about here. It’s not up to the startling standard of the best modern transfers, sure, but it serves the material well. Colours are nicely balanced and mostly muted, and there’s plenty of shadow detail where needed; all that seems to be lacking is a bit of fine detail and crispness, but that’s being picky. This transfer (stored on a single-layered disc) serves the movie well.

  Audio
Contract

The sole soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 - the 2.0 surround track found on the US release is not included here, but that’s not anything to worry about as the 5.1 track downmixes extremely well. That’s got a lot to do with the fact that there’s not a great deal of overt surround activity going on here; aside from some subtle efforts at atmosphere creation at various times (and they should be subtle - if they jolt you out of the story in this type of film, the effects are not doing their job) this soundtrack is very centre-focussed and dialogue-heavy. There are no problems with any elements of the soundtrack, dialogue included, except for some over-prominent tape hiss on occasion (even though an end credit proudly proclaims that the audio was edited digitally on hard disk!)

  Extras
Contract

As with the US version of this disc, the only extra included is a theatrical trailer, presented full-frame.

  Overall  
Contract

It won’t appeal to everyone - mainly because of the extreme familiarity of its star - Picture Perfect is an affable romantic comedy with some amusing moments and a seriously bad ending.

Fans of the film are served well by this DVD, which offers a picture-perfect (in aspect ratio at least!) 16:9 transfer of the movie that isn’t quite up to the current state of the art, but is pleasing nonetheless.


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      And I quote...
    "Pretty much your standard-issue kooky-relationship comedy..."
    - Anthony Horan
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS300
    • Receiver:
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    • Speakers:
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    • Surrounds:
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    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
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