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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
    English - Hearing Impaired
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - Rob Reiner and Luke Wilson
  • Dolby Digital trailer - Water

Alex & Emma

Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 92 mins . M15+ . PAL


I never know what to think of Rob Reiner romance tales. I can take them or leave them. Some are watchable, some are not. However, they are the kind of film you catch five minutes of and before you know it, you’ve sat down to watch the end and an hour 20 has gone by and you haven’t dropped that human donor organ off in time like you were meant to.

Such is the case with Alex and Emma. I sat down with a couple of things to do and for the first ten minutes I was watching and doing. Then the movie grabbed me and I stopped doing and just watched. (Now I’ll never have that kitten cross-stitch finished for Christmas...).

It’s a simple premise. Alex (Luke Wilson) is a novellist who banged out a great book but is struggling with his second. He’s been promised 125,000 clams to finish another, and he definitely needs that as he borrowed heavily from Cuban gangsters and they want their money back TODAY. He offers to double it if they don’t kill him and they give him 30 days to get it. So now all he has to do is type up his book... but, unfortunately, the Cubans burnt his computer so he has to dictate it to a stenographer and this is where Kate Hudson comes in as Emma.

As they begin a strictly business relationship, characters in the book come to life and the two realise, through metaphors of other characters, they may be falling in love. Or are they? Is it just an imaginary belief created by stressed working conditions?

There’s a lot of fun to be had working it out, anyway. Reiner is obviously a master of this sort of comedy romance and he directs the action well. While this isn’t Oscar material, there are some genuine laughs to be had and the chemistry between Hudson and Wilson is quite magnetic and engaging. Both are having a lot of fun with their roles and enjoying each other’s company and this washes into the feel of the film, creating a simple and fun film that couples or fans of romantic comedy will enjoy.


The film fluctuates between the imaginary world of 1924 and the real world, though the majority of real world is set inside Alex’s apartment. When indoor studio shots set outdoors have been shot, there’s a diaphanous and eerie sunlight used that helps compress the feeling of imagination, and this is utilised more in the 1924 universe than that of today. However, those shot today are in the world before Alex meets Emma and an allusion can be drawn into that regarding the events that follow.

Sometimes a scene will have the tiniest level of grain, but these occasions are sporadic at best and unaffecting of the film. Everything else looks good, although some of the pretty poor animation in the opening titles looks odd. The artwork is great, as is the style, but this type of art deco/art nouveau just doesn’t translate to animation very well and should have been left out. Otherwise, the transfer looks as good as a recent release in 1.85:1 with enhancement should look.


Dropped in on us with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround accompaniment, the sound is just fine for the film. The surrounds rarely get any use, however, as the film is mostly dialogue driven and set in a dingy apartment with but two persons. However, there are occasional market scenes and stuff with city noises and crowds, and while good this isn’t all that necessary.

Dialogue is all fine here, as are the limited sound effects and the musical score by Marc Shaiman which, while fitting to the film and genre, isn’t anything to phone home about. Still, it all sounds good and that’s the important thing.


Only a trailer (1.85:1, 16:9 enhanced) and an audio commentary. However, this commentary is very, very funny and almost makes for a funnier experience than the film. Actually, I laughed harder upon hearing this than at any joke in the film, so maybe it is. It’s just Rob Reiner and Luke Wilson, but they are obviously great friends and are having a lot of fun telling anecdotes from the shoot, some interesting backstories on actors and props and are generally well spoken and entertaining. This more than makes up for the lack of extras here and is one of the funniest commentaries I’ve ever listened to.

(Oh, and the shitty Dolby Rain trailer is chapter fast-forwardable before the film, thank goodness).


This is a surprisingly entertaining film with a genuine chemistry between the two major players of Hudson and Wilson. They truly make the film while some good supporting performances come in from Sophie Marceau (in both worlds) and Rob Reiner himself as Alex’s publisher.

I heartily recommend this one for anyone enjoying a good romantic comedy that isn’t overcrowded with sloppy sentiment. It’s genuinely likable, as are the characters and with the audio commentary suddenly becomes an entirely funnier film again.

Fun stuff for a Friday night in.

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      And I quote...
    "Surprisingly fun stuff in this subtle romantic comedy from Rob Reiner."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
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          Sony 51cm
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    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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