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  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
    English - Hearing Impaired
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Featurette - Behind The Scenes

Good Advice

Magna/Magna . R4 . COLOR . 89 mins . M15+ . PAL


With such a cheesy DVD case I thought I’d be in for a rather cheesy movie and in part I was. For the rest though, this was okay. Charlie Sheen has always had a certain appeal and in this it gets used to its usual effect.

This is basically a tale involving a Wall Street brokerage (dejá vu for Charlie) and an advice column. Charlie plays Ryan Turner; a misogynist pig who sleeps all over town with lots of chicks. When he orchestrates a delicious insider trading deal (dejá vu upon dejá vu for Charlie) that goes horribly wrong, he is suddenly broke and fired and destitute and homeless. He moves in with his irritating girlfriend, Cindy (Denise Richards) who writes an advice column. When he has hung around the house growing a stack of pizza boxes for long enough, she leaves him for a guy in Brazil. Still broke, but knowing of this sudden vacancy, he fills in for Cindy and a relationship between he and her old editor, Page Hensen (Angie Harmon), develops while he fakes being Cindy. Then, of course, his advice is just what the city’s doctor ordered and suddenly everyone wants to know where Cindy is, who she is and why she doesn’t show herself.

"Goodbye to our vacation! You promised you would take me to Egypt to see that giant Sphinxter!"

It’s a pretty formulaic story with a few eyebrow raisers (why would a broke yet serious newspaper even have a chintzy advice column?) but the chemistry between Charlie and Angie is undeniably watchable. They work well bouncing off each other as aggressors and then bouncing into each other later and it shows in their performances. The real surprise here, though, is Estelle Harris (George’s mother from Seinfeld) playing a comically sexual secretary. She gets the best lines and uses them very neatly and she is obviously having a great time with the role. (An interesting sidebar here: Estelle Harris starred in a television series entitled Good Advice with Teri Garr, who played Paige Turner. See the ‘Page’ and ‘Turner’ thing there? Freaky!)

Jon Lovitz is always a very funny guy to have in any comedy, yet in this he barely gets a decent line to work with. It’s a no good shame, it is. Still, the cast are great together and this film, while not being your definitive sugar-coated smash hit sleeper, is still entertaining light viewing for a cosy night in.


Coming in at the aspect of 1.78:1 and 16:9 enhanced, I still can’t imagine this hit the cinemas in any major way (if at all). Anyway, at least it looks pretty good. Not crystal clear vision, but by no means grubby, this also has very few artefacts included, which is indeed a bonus. Some of the night interior shots are a teensy bit grainy, but the daylit shots are clean and well saturated colourwise. Flesh tones come across mostly okay, though possibly a little pinker at times. Not often, just every so often. Blacks and stuff look natural too, which all up means this film looks pretty good for the most part.


We only get Dolby Digital stereo here, which came as a definite surprise. However, the sound also doesn’t require much as it is mostly a dialogue-fuelled film not requiring great bursts of music or sound effects. All dialogue, on that note, is well spoken and clear and easily understood if you speak English. If not, it’s unlikely you’re going to watch this anyway, as there are only English subtitles included.

The music of this film impressed me a little. Scored by Teddy Castellucci, it has a peculiar comic feel to it – almost reminiscent of earlier Danny Elfman stuff. It suits the film very well without overshadowing any scenes and supports the scenes requiring the extra oomph. Nice, even for stereo.


Rather than spend money on a separate screen menu, there’s just the main menu with the extras on it. This is the same picture as the DVD case and features a particularly unflattering shot of Ms Harmon. It sucks when they do that to a particular face whilst the others look fine. Well, as fine as those cheesy composite film summary pics can look. Anyway, there are just the two extras - first, the original trailer that runs for 2:20, presented at only 4:3 and is a good deal louder than the film, so beware. The voiceover is also rather dodgy and you shouldn't watch it before the film 'cos it'll spoil it for you.

The other extra is a nine and a half minute behind the scenes which is actually a 'making of' type affair. With several soundbite interviews from various cast and crew, it is interesting watching, but do so after the film as it gives a little away (just like the trailer, though less).


I have to say that a surprising bunch of performances make this film entirely watchable. The extras, while slim pickings, are still worthy additions and help bolster the film’s light weight. Quite a wide cast lends the film some of that weight, but a gifted comic actor like Jon Lovitz should be utilised, not wasted behind his overdrawn screen wife, Rosanna Arquette. Oh well. Maybe the director thought it was a ‘serious’ role?

While being your average sugar-soaked boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl etc type affair, it’s still fun viewing for anyone not chasing a think piece or an action blockbuster.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2915
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      And I quote...
    "Whilst not being a well known film, this plays as a mostly funny yet still formulaic romantic comedy."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
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    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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