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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • 2 Teaser trailer - Roger Dodger, The Real Thing
  • Theatrical trailer
It Had to Be You
Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 92 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Itís predictable, itís cheesy, It Had To Be You. Hmm, no wonder romantic comedies get given a bad name when fluffy crap such as this gets thrown onto the mindless market.

Letís take a closer look. We have Natasha Henstridge in the female lead, who is simply gorgeous, and a straight male colleague even backed that one up. The slick says sheís known from The Whole Nine Yards, but honestly, itís Species that really made her. Haha, unintentional pun too. Up next is Michael Vartan from Never Been Kissed who isnít quite right for the role. Sorry, but someone who looks like theyíre about to enter drug rehabilitation canít play the romantic male lead and get the audienceís sympathy. OK, his line of work in the film and his past is strenuous, but he always looks so tired and out of it. It just doesnít work. So Henstridge is perfect for her role, but Vartan is just, for the lack of a better word, ewwww.

Supporting the pair is Michael Rispoli, who is the kind of guy you recognise but canít put your finger on where you saw him before. For the whole movie youíll be there trying to piece it together, and then it hits you, he starred in the Sandra Bullock good-romantic-comedy While You Were Sleeping. Now just for the icing on the cake, throw in a fruit-loop of a hairdresser who has more hair colour changes than this reviewer, played by Olivia díAbo who has credits in a variety of sitcoms and dramas on television. It seems like a really oddly mixed fruit salad Ė a beautiful female, an unappealing male, a fat, smoking alcoholic policeman and a nutty hairdresser. Sound like the usual formula for a romantic comedy? Nope, and the produce is just as odd and disjointed, resulting in a rather flat and unimpressive production.

So this weekend, these four extremes of society meet in Manhattan (no maid in sight) on a weekend that will give them more to think about than the immediate future. Charlie and Anna meet by chance as they work together on their wedding registers (for different weddings as they are marrying other people, Anna, for example, is marrying an anally retentive vacuum cleaner Ė go figure), and Henry and Tracey meet in a bar where Henry is, as per usual, drowning his sorrows and Tracey is off for a night out. Do I really need to go on? You know how things go from here, the usual formulaic relationships pop up with a variety of quirky incidents as well as some unexpected roadblocks just to create some trouble. But it really just misses the point, offering a rather flat and unappealing drama that fails to be funny. Oh and a word of warning, donít look at the cover before watching the film as it has pictures of the ending on it. I mean duh!

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

The anamorphically-enhanced video transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect of 1.78:1. And while this video is good, itís not great, you know, something just doesnít ďlookĒ right. Colours are vibrant and bright, giving some fantastic tones, and shadows are adequately deep. However, the colours are oddly saturated, looking bright and dull at the same time. Yes, I know itís quite hard to comprehend, but they just donít quite look natural. Skin tones are pinky and life-like but the image suffers a harsh cold wash, rather than a warmth that you would expect to be exuded from this genre of film. Film artefacts zip through every now and then, but this transfer is remarkably clean, both from artefacts as well as film grain. Itís hard to put a pin point on it, but something just doesnít look right. Maybe itís the strange clarity of the image but something is just missing. The image looks quite soft at times, so much so that it is a little annoying to watch. You feel like asking the projectionist to fix the focus. The combination of the odd colours and the over-soft picture combine to give a slightly frustrating picture watch. On the surface it looks great, but something deeper down is just not quite right.

The solo Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track is reasonable, but offers very little in the way of stunning effects. Dialogue is crisp and clear, with perfect synch throughout, and comes solidly from both the left and right channels. Bass levels are quite decent, with enough support for the score and soundtrack throughout. There is little separation between the left and right channels, creating a fairly shallow and thin soundstage, with little interest created between the two channels. It does the job, but isnít anything extraordinary. Being a stereo track, the surround channels and your woof-woof take the evening off.

When you stick the DVD in, you are treated to a British anti-piracy trailer, which features British and Australian numbers, a sign of this discís internationality. Then we see trailers of Roger Dodger (2:25) and The Real Thing (4:59) before the 16:9 enhanced menu loads. From the menu you have the option of playing the movie, scene selections or playing the theatrical trailer for It Had To Be You which runs for 2:17. Strangely though there is no option to replay the trailers prior to the menu. So three trailers equals three points. These extras are nothing special, and really nothing to worry about either.

Overall, the quote for this transfer still stands Ė it had to be crap. And yes it was, failing to impress dramatically or comedically. Henstridge plays her part well, doing a knock-out job given the mediocre script, and Vartan flounders between drugged up and pathetic, this line sometimes becoming thin. Universalís transfer is adequate with a video transfer thatís just lacking and an audio transfer that does the job, but isnít anything special. The extra features too are an added bonus, but nothing to get excited about. If youíre hard done by (no, really, really hard done by) for entertainment this may be worth a rent, but there has to be something better somewhere. Surely there is...


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  •   And I quote...
    "It had to be crap..."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Philips DVD 736K
    • TV:
          TEAC EU68-ST
    • Receiver:
          Sony HT-SL5
    • Speakers:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony SS-CNP2
    • Surrounds:
          Sony SS-MSP2
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony SA-WMSP3
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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