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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Teaser trailer
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - Director Dennis Dugan
  • Animated menus
  • Outtakes
  • Filmographies

Evil Woman

Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 92 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Wayne (Steve Zahn), JD (Jack Black) and Darren (Silverman, as in the film’s original title, Saving Silverman - oh, and he’s played by Jason Biggs) are three duds who have been best buds since hanging out together in the fifth grade. Years on they remain incredibly close, sharing hours of bonding over such delights as beer bongs and sport and all having one mystical thing in common – a love of Neil Diamond – and that’s restraining order level love - which is the impetus behind their tribute band, Diamonds in the Rough (coming to a park bench near you soon - spangly shirts, big hair wigs and all). They’re not the most desirable members of the male species by any means, so naturally they’re walking, talking, belching and farting partner-free zones – well, at least until Darren meets “queen of all hotties” Judith (Amanda Peet). He just may not end up a solitary man after all...

The two only meet as Judith opts for the lesser of two evils in trying to avoid the come-ons of an even bigger loser than Darren, however a strange relationship blossoms whereby she basically squishes any semblance of self out of the poor boy like he's an empty tube of toothpaste you're sure you can get one more good brushing out of – as she puts it, “He’s my puppet, I’m his puppet master” (umm, we’ll assume she meant mistress...) After a rather disastrous and expensive as far as dry cleaning is concerned introduction to Wayne and JD she makes her decree – lose the friends. Darren slavishly adheres to her wishes and quits the band, as well as torching his Neil collection (good lord!) – after all, with Judith supposedly worried about her cherry, cherry and not believing in premarital sex he doesn’t want to lose his masturbation privileges...

Needless to say, Wayne and JD aren’t going to take all this by simply blobbing on the couch (or would that be the crunchy granola lounge suite?), after all, Judith’s a monster and Darren needs saving! After failed bribery attempts, lost arm wrestles and bungled shots at blackmail the two get even more desperate, and decide to kidnap she who is keeping them from their buddy. An elaborate(ish) set up ensues, complicated by the return of one Sandy, a girl the three knew in high school and who Darren declared was his one and only true love – who pops by to say “hello again” and naturally ends up as a carrot to dangle in front of Darren, who has been led to believe that Judith is dead so that shallow guy thing of the internal “next!” button being activated happens. But Sandy is about to do the get thee to a nunnery thing and take her vows, can the path of true love and true friendship be mended in time, or will it be just another case of love on the rocks? Well perhaps with a bit of help from Neil...

"Alright, Neil Diamond's on board!"

You guessed it, the only way the word “art” would ever be associated with this film is if it was preceded by an “F”. And yes, that line is probably more original and less predictable than any during the entirety of Evil Woman... Still, when it comes from a man who directed the two Adam Sandler flicks Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy should we expect any more? Of course not.

Sure, Evil Woman is a lowest common denominator, gross-out, breasty-bits out and rather crass at times flick, but it isn’t the celluloid equivalent of Satan that many have made it out to be either. The cries of “misogyny!” echoed all over as, heavens above, Judith the titular one is a strong woman character who is made out to be an utter controlling bitch – hang’em high! Well, in actual fact she IS an utter controlling bitch – it happens, just get over it and get a life – isn’t there an abortion clinic for Jonathan Livingstone seagulls out there that needs picketing or something? The difference between Evil Woman and, say, Dude, Where’s My Car? (UGH!) is rather fine, but it all comes down to heart. Whilst the latter wouldn’t know it even if one burst all over its face, Saving Evil Silver Woman at least manages to maintain some semblance of it. After all, we’ve all had times where we’ve had friends in need of a spot of intervention, even if we haven’t necessarily gone to the same extremes as Wayne and JD to get the point across.

Ultimately the whole thing slides by on a whiff of a plot, and that which it does have has more holes in it than a sixty foot cheese grater. Regardless, Evil Woman is quite fun, mind-numbingly silly no-brainer entertainment that is saved from the mire by a couple of delightfully amusing performances – most notably from big and scary army dude R. Lee Ermey, who gets to elicit some of the biggest chuckles here with his often delightfully succinct advice for the boys – and actually manages to deliver the odd laugh out loud moment, which is always a good sign. Neil Diamond manages to wander about looking pretty much like he spent way too much time on set getting up close and personal with Wayne and JD’s beer bong – but then he was much like that in his last filmic appearance, way back when with The Jazz Singer, so perhaps he’s just crap at acting? Still, the lad has a pretty decent set of tonsils, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt...

  Video
Contract

Hmm, the disc’s packaging states that this has a 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer when it in fact has one in the correct cinematic ratio of 1.85:1 (also anamorphically enhanced). This is about the only fault that can be mentioned relating in any way to the transfer.

Alright, so the opening archival footage from an old Neil Diamond show is a bit on the foul side, but otherwise everything that is of more recent vintage scrubs up wonderfully. The film’s vibrant colours – everything from outdoor scenes to bars and red, red wine - all come to life in what is a very detailed transfer, which still manages to be virtually free of aliasing. “Virtually” simply as there are guitar strings present, which surely must be the bane of DVD encoders worldwide. Blacks are as black as black can be, and no particular nasties rear their heads to be distracting other than the VERY occasional miniscule speck and a slightly clunky layer change that is hard not to notice.

  Audio
Contract

All of Evil Woman’s beautiful noise (Ha! You don’t think I’d give up THAT easily on the crap Neil references, did you?) comes in a solid Dolby Digital 5.1 package. Whilst this is the only audio option (other than the commentary), strangely enough it gets its own menu selection screen, which I for one found rather curious. You go into audio setup and you have one option – DD5.1. That’s it. No hidden gimmicks, no alternative options, just one audio selection or the chance to return to the main menu. How odd.

Anyway, unlike many a comedy, this audio track actually manages to be aggressive (bugger, I doubt Neil ever covered Faith No More – oh well) in its use of surrounds and the subwoofwoof at certain times, mainly in support of music, however it then has a tendency to go sleepy bobos for extended periods. Still, it does the job it should, delivering everything clearly – and that’s no mean feat when faced with certain cast members – plus it’s all perfectly synched.

Soundtrack duties were handled by Mike Simpson, who must be another in an incredibly long line of disgruntled film composers who nowadays find their work simply used as filler between songs from the accompanying CD release. Still, other than the rather inevitable assortment of tracks from Mr Diamond, there are some pearls to be heard if you’re quick enough – Stereo MCs’ fabulous Connected, the omnipresent Moby’s Body Rock - as well as tracks from the likes of the predictable Apollo 440, Everclear, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Groove Armada and, erm, Backstreet Boys - yikes! Oh, there’s also a fabulously raucous and punky cover of ELO’s song which shares a title with this film - and if anybody dares email me to inform me that Jeff Lynne and friends never released a song called Saving Silverman you’ll get a hearty e-slap for your troubles!

  Extras
Contract

After a brief animated intro, essentially static menus pop up featuring the characters of the film lounging about various options. When you make a selection there are brief and amusing-the-first-few-times animated transitions. On selecting the special features section, we’re confronted with...

Commentary – director Dennis Dugan: Shy little flower Dugan carries this on his own – which may not have been the best idea as he isn’t, well, the most interesting guy in the world. We do learn how extremely hilarious he thinks his film is, however, and there are occasional beacons of intriguing stuff as far as behind the scenes goss imparted.

Outtakes: Just under four minutes of un-enhanced 1.78:1 goofing around, mostly by Jack and Steve. Life will go on just fine if you never bear witness to this, if you know what I mean...

Trailers: Naturally there’s one for Evil Woman itself (1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, DD5.1 audio), which gives away a few of the film’s money shots, but also delivers plenty enough warning as to what sort of film you’re in for. Three more are also included, for films that all bear some relationship to this movie via a connection with either actors or the director, and all in full frame. For those who simply must know to make their lives complete, these are the not-as-bad-as-most-seem-to-make-out-in-fact-this-reviewer-kind-of-enjoyed-it Jason Biggs vehicle Loser, another example of Dugan’s directorial abilities in Big Daddy, and one of Jack Black’s earlier filmic appearances in the hideous and rather creepy crap-fest that is The Cable Guy.

Filmographies: Agh! Basically these are just of that useless old ‘selected’ variety, covering Jason Biggs, Jack Black, Steve Zahn, Amanda Peet and Dennis Dugan in a rather scattershot and unfulfilling manner.

Easter eggs: There are two hidden sub-two minute outtakes reels for the adventurous to find - the unadventurous can just pop by our googy section to discover how to uncover them.

  Overall  
Contract

Forget analysing it to death, if you enjoy the odd diversion into silly, gross-out Adam Sandler-esque territory then don’t be ashamed, as you could do a lot worse than Evil Woman. The video quality is top notch, the audio does as good a job as you could hope for and the extras – well, they’re a bit sucky, however they’re better than none.

But seriously, why didn’t they get Neil to roar, “Good lord” even once while they had the chance? Talk about golden opportunities gone begging!


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1586
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      And I quote...
    "Good lord! Sure it’s rather shilo, but if you desiree the odd diversion into mind-numbingly silly no-brainer entertainment on a hot August night or even a cold September morn then this comes holly holy recommended. Well, kinda..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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