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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Sided
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Surround
    English, French

    Boys on the Side

    Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 117 mins . MA15+ . NTSC


    Jane (Whoopi Goldberg) is fired from her singing job in New York and decides to head west to LA to find her destiny. She replies to an ad in the local paper from Robin (Mary-Louise Parker) who is also heading west and looking for someone to share the driving. On the way they make a stop in Pittsburgh to visit Jane's friend Holly (Drew Barrymore). Holly is living with her drug addict boyfriend Nick (Billy Wirth), who likes to beat her. After an altercation between the girls and Nick, Holly decides to join the others and head west.

    The bond between the three grows as they travel and after a while they decide to settle in Tucson. They share their secrets and form the kind of friendship that doesn't come along everyday. Holly is pregnant and starts dating local straight shooting policeman Abe Lincoln (Matthew McConaughey) and Robin dates local bartender Alex (James Remar). Jane is a lesbian and is falling in love with someone she can never have.

    "She's a lesbian? She's black? She's a black lesbian?"

    Now the first thing that springs to mind when watching this film is Road Trip, Beaches and Thelma and Louise but although there are similarities to those films, they are only minor ones. Whoopi Goldberg's character even proclaims at one point that she will not drive off a cliff for the other two. The driving force for this film without doubt is the strong bond between the three women. The humour is at times very funny and in a film with Whoopi Goldberg in the lead role, this is expected. The dramatic parts of the film are also extremely well done and Goldberg and Parker give great performances in their respective roles. This is to take nothing away from Barrymore, whose role is the more bubbly type character and although this is not a great stretch for her, she does play the role exceptionally well and gives a nice balance to the other two characters. Although not his first film role, Matthew McConaughey is very well cast as the straight-laced police officer. He is very young and very buff and looking back over his career shows great versatility in this role.

    Originally released in 1995, the accompanying soundtrack contains some great songs from the time and some newer versions of classics. Artists featured include Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow, The Pretenders and Stevie Nicks, all adding greatly to the feel of this movie. Many viewers may prepare themselves for this film by stocking up on chocolate and tissues. Yes, there are scenes that will tug on the heartstrings, but these are not the dominant theme and most viewers should enjoy this enjoyable journey of self-discovery.


    Side A of this disc presents the feature in full frame and therefore not 16x9 enhanced, while side B presents it in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced. The quality is much the same for both, but most would agree the version of choice would have to be the 2.35:1 ratio presentation. The most noticeable fault with this transfer is the constant film artefacts in the form of white flecks. These occur throughout the film and can become quite annoying. There is also a problem with grain, giving this film a very aged look, normally this would be acceptable but considering this film was released in 1995, it looks older. Colours are generally natural and there are no major problems with aliasing. This is overall a reasonable transfer, but not really of the standard that it could have been. There is a choice of English or French subtitles and these are accurate to what is occurring on screen.

    Please also note that this is a NTSC release so you will need that capability.


    Audio supplied for both sides A and B is the choice of English and French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. While being nothing spectacular, this soundtrack is more than adequate for this type of film. Dialogue is generally clear, although there are occasions where it is a struggle to hear what is being said due to the accompanying music level being raised and the dialogue level not. The rear speakers are used to build up the music but are not really called into action otherwise. For this dialogue driven film though, it is not too much of an issue.


    Nothing in the way of extras, not one!


    Not meaning any offence, this is definitely a "chick flick". Still, not being a "chick" I must admit that I did enjoy this film. The balance of drama and comedy is very well done and the acting is first rate. It's not quite up there with Thelma and Louise, but well worth a watch. The option to supply the full feature in full frame as well as in it's original aspect ratio seems a bit of a waste and the total lack of extras is also a surprise, but most should find this enjoyable.

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      And I quote...
    "A black lesbian, the whitest woman in America and Drew Barrymore take a road trip in this nice balance of humour and drama."
    - Adrian Turvey
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