Hungarian, Russian, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Commentary - English
20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 91 mins .
M15+ . PAL
Aww, the happy couple Tom and Sarah are just back from their honeymoon, how sweet!
There’s just one teensy-weensy problem, however. They’re not really a happy couple at all, as the two are basically trying to rip each others’ throats out. Uh-oh! So it’s back to Daddy's cosy mansion for Sarah, and back to the squalid loft for Tom.
"Cheese and rice! "
But naturally it wasn’t always this frosty between them. Flashback less than a year, when rather dopey traffic radio DJ Tom (Ashton Kutcher) meets well-educated, Beverly Hills rich kid Sarah (Brittany Murphy) on the beach, with more than a little thanks to a somewhat misfired football. A whirlwind romance ensues – all lovey-dovey, snookums-pookums kind of stuff that makes the gag reflexes of bitter, twisted and hardened bitches such as myself go into hyperdrive – before a mere ten months later they announce their engagement, much to the disdain of the bride-to-be’s father.
Ah, airplane lavatory Tetris...
It’s soon wedding day time, and all is sunshine and lollipops for a little while. But then comes the honeymoon; and right from the start things aren’t exactly how they tend to appear in every little girl’s dreams (sorry, I can’t speak for the blokes out there). From trundling to the French Alps in a car that makes my little Echo look positively hugely Cadillac-esque through to a Venice which hardly sparks the pilot of love into flamy flamyness, the niggles become arguments, the arguments become shouting matches and things even start to get a tad violent at times, as all manner of jealousies and mistrusts rear their nasty little pointy-toothed heads.
Then we’re back at the very beginning. Is it all over for Tom and Sarah? Could this “perfect” relationship have been ruined by marriage? After all, they just seemed so gosh-darned cute together at the start and all…
Presenting Europe's finest in compact cars - the new Potrzebie Axolotl!
Sure, this kind of story is hardly original in any way, however Just Married has at least been blessed by a script that’s quite feisty at times, which has also been handled fairly well as far as this type of thing goes by all involved on both sides of the camera – remarkably even the hammy Kutcher. It does have a tendency to be rather cynical about the whole marriage thing (then, with a 50%-plus divorce rate nowadays can this attitude actually be criticised?), but in all stylistically it’s a little reminiscent of those classic screwball comedies from the likes of Hepburn and Tracy (not that I am for a minute comparing their talent with that on show here). It has a reasonably full complement of amusing bits, squooshy bits, out-and-out silly bits and the odd instance of toilet humour that’s mandatory from such a concoction nowadays and perversely, considering the mile-wide divide between the actual characters’ backgrounds, the chemistry between the two leads is obvious – likely helped by the fact that they were an item at the time. They’ve since gone their separate ways; you can’t help but wonder if this dress rehearsal may have made their tootsies a widdle bit chilly?
And it's back to Venice - and more f*cking gondolas!
Seeing as this film has scarcely been out of its cinematic shrink-wrap a few months, you’d expect a rather natty transfer. Good news is that these expectations are warranted. Delivered in its original cinematic ratio of 1.85:1 (there’s none of that annoying cropping to 1.78:1 here folks) and anamorphically enhanced, there is actually nothing obvious at fault with it at all. Colour is quite delightful – well saturated without assaulting the retinas, detail is at a premium, shadow detail never lets the side down and there are absolutely no obvious transfer gremlins, although the more nit-picky may notice one or two very slight cases of aliasing here and there. The layer change is well placed at the end of a scene, exhibiting a brief pause but nothing distracting.
An English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is the order of the day, or if you’re feeling adventurous you can opt for Russian in the same format. As “nyet” and “Aeroflot” pretty much sums up my grasp of the language, I obviously plumped for the English option.
Standards have slipped a tad at the Venice Hilton.
It’s a well-transferred affair, with even some of the more heated verbal exchanges all coming through quite clearly and no synch issues in evidence. Being of the genus Romanticus Comedius it does tend to hog the front soundstage, with little in the way of rear speaker or subwoofwoof use of note. Despite this lack of sonic adventurousness, all comers should be pleased enough with what is a perfectly serviceable audio track considering the nature of the film.
Music-wise, perhaps the fact that the score doesn’t suck is down to who created it – Christophe Beck, a name which will need no introduction to any Buffy dweebs (a clan of which I am a proud, card-carrying member). This gets jostled about by a selection of pop tunes from the likes of Basement Jaxx and “anti-Britneys” such as Avril Lavigne and Michelle Branch, plus in what was somewhat freaky for this particular reviewer, What is Love? by Euro-cheese superstar Haddaway, a ditty which absolutely haunted me everywhere I went as I travelled through the UK, France and Germany way back in 1993. I guess I'm not the only one...
Some rather predictable, albeit well done, menus featuring an animated wedding album lead into a reasonable array of extras, identical to those supplied on the region 1 release…
Umm, apparently this is a dog...
First up is a commentary by director Levy plus actors Kutcher and Murphy, and the first thing that comes to mind here is a big thank heavens that Ashton’s moronic monkey boy antics, as displayed in the commentary for that utter piece of cinematic putrescence Dude, Where’s My Car? is mercifully absent - perhaps Brittany’s presence was a good influence? Anyway, the three deliver a likeable and informative commentary, with a pleasing balance between a little bit of techy information, quite a bit of on-set gossip and oodles of “this is my favourite bit” type stuff.
A set of four deleted scenes is next on the register, in un-enhanced 1.85:1 complete with big, yukky timecodes. They were all fairly expendable, especially one which would pretty much have defied the point of the whole film, whilst one featuring a seriously whacked out priest is, well, seriously whacked out. Levy provides an optional commentary with the usual reasons for the deletion of the scenes, complete with those two dreaded words “test” and “audience”.
A mind-numbingly brief making of is next, clocking in at a feeble 3:39. Interview blipverts are included with the key cast along with the usual array of grabs from the film – just don’t blink as you may find it’s passed you by. Mind you, you wouldn’t have missed much anyway. What sounds like it may be a more informative documentary type thing is Comedy Central Reel Comedy: Just Married, with a duration of 20:55. Sadly it’s just a rather puerile quiz type thing featuring Kutcher and Murphy in a bed, hosted by somebody named Mario Cantone who makes the guy from Studs seem appealing in comparison. Finally, we’re privy to a full frame theatrical trailer (2:18), which is actually the teaser.
If the boundlessly more original likes of Adaptation, Punch Drunk Love and Donnie Darko have you hurtling towards the aspirin, you may find Just Married, a teen romantic comedy that, in the right frame of mind, can actually be enjoyed even if you’ve hit your 20s (or worse, beyond), a reasonably pleasant surprise. Presented almost flawlessly in the visual and audio departments and with a reasonable assemblage of extras, it delivers absolutely nothing new and demands remarkably little of the old grey matter, but then very little does nowadays anyway.
Jack & Sarah "Proving that simplicity is no obstruction to brilliance, this is an ultimately sweet (but not sickeningly so) tale that gives all those bigger English films out there a more than respectable run for their money... "