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  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  • French: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
  • German: Dolby Digital Mono
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  • Theatrical trailer

Nothing in Common

Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 114 mins . M . PAL


David Basner (Tom Hanks) is a hot young star on the rise; a charismatic, highly successful advertising executive who has everything he wants – money, power, girls, and more money. However when his parents finally split after 35 years, David is forced to re-evaluate his seemingly idyllic life. For while his mother Lorraine (Eva Marie Saint) flourishes after escaping the confines of an oppressive marriage, his imperious father Max (Jackie Gleason) – a once great salesman who has long since lost his gift - descends into a cycle of depression and denial that threatens to drag David in. Increasingly forced to take care of both parents, but especially the ailing Max, David is soon confronted with a few home truths about his childhood and his hateful old man. Appalled to learn of his mother’s ill-treatment and, disturbed to find much of his father in himself, David is forced to re-evaluate his lifestyle, his priorities and, most importantly, his relationships…

Brought to the screen by director Gary Pretty Woman Marshall, Nothing in Common contains some great scenes, but ultimately suffers from an acute identity crisis. Switching constantly between frivolous romantic comedy and emotionally-charged family drama, the film’s mood is a two-hour rollercoaster of highs and lows that ultimately muddies what might have been a strong and poignant study of modern family relationships. As a consequence, Nothing in Common fails utterly to engage the audience, and I found my eyes flitting to the DVD time display even before the film’s halfway mark.

That the film fails is a shame, because on the whole Nothing in Common contains some wonderful performances. The stand-out is Jackie Gleason who, in his final screen performance, provides a moving and honest portrayal of a stubborn, caustic father whose character, going against the Hollywood grain, never softens an inch throughout the film. Tom Hanks, previously known only for his work in comedies such as Splash and Bachelor Party, is also great here; delivering the laughs but also showing more than a glimmer of his future dramatic career. But at the end of the day Nothing in Common fails to deliver. Fans of Hanks or Gleason may find their individual sparks of brilliance of personal interest, but having amassed a sizeable body of work between them, there’s plenty of other more satisfying examples worthy of your time.


Filmed in 1986, Nothing in Common is hardly ancient, and yet the source material used to produce Columbia’s anamorphic (1.85:1) transfer is less than ideal. Film artefacts abound early on, and while they dissipate after the first half-hour, black specks large and small appear regularly during the first reel. While the image is also sullied by some abhorrent mid-'80s clothes and hairstyles, detail is (thankfully) reduced by a somewhat soft image and shadow detail too is a little below normal expectations. Film grain is also the movie’s constant companion; most obvious in the backgrounds of night and (lower-light) indoor scenes, but never increasing to a distracting level.

In addition to these source material deficiencies, an abundance of MPEG artefacts can also be seen, with macro-blocking, chroma-noise and posterisation all making regular appearances in scene backgrounds. Whilst these compression artefacts never make their way to the image foreground, I was amazed to see them at all given a dual-layer disc, and the dearth of extras. The layer change too is handled badly. While placed at a quite scene change, my player hung for a good two to three seconds while the change occurred. On the positive side, colours are nicely balanced, with faithfully reproduced skin tones and perfect black level, but overall I’d have to say Nothing in Common is a little disappointing, despite the age of the film.


There’s absolutely nothing special about Nothing in Common’s mono audio mix. So much so that I won't bore you by recounting paragraphs of mind-numbing observations. Suffice to say that with clear and distinct dialogue, and a score made up of (long forgotten) '80s ballads, the mix is serviceable, ably supports the film, but has no other laudable qualities whatsoever.


A theatrical trailer, and a rather poor pan and scan effort at that, is joined by similar quality trailers for two other Hanks vehicles' Sleepless in Seatle and Philadelphia.


Nothing in Common has its problems. Unable to decide whether it’s a comedy or a drama, it jumps from the frivolous to the tragic and melancholy in a matter of seconds, and I readily admit that this made it very hard for me to enjoy. But by all means don’t take my word for it - more respected critics than I have raved about the film and its handling of the often painful issue of retiree divorce. Then again, those very same critics label Gary Marshall’s Pretty Woman a poignant study of the plight of female sex-workers...

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      And I quote...
    "Despite strong showings from Hanks and Gleason, this rollercoaster of frivolous highs and gut-wrenching lows fails to satisfy..."
    - Gavin Turner
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Toshiba SD-2108
    • TV:
          Panasonic TC-68P90A TAU (80cm)
    • Receiver:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Speakers:
          B&W 602
    • Centre Speaker:
          B&W CC6 S2
    • Surrounds:
          JM Lab Cobalt SR20
    • Subwoofer:
          B&W ASW-500
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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