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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Surround
    English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish

    Son in Law

    Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 92 mins . PG . PAL


    So what ever happened to Pauly Shore?

    After a stint of ’90s releases including In the Army Now, Jury Duty, Bio Dome and Encino Man, not to mention whacked out voices in the cruddy Casper sequels, Pauly Shore just disappeared from the radar.

    Well nearly, and it’s about time.

    OK, that last comment was below the belt and I apologise if any Pauly Shore fans were offended. Pauly Shore fans? Yeah right!

    So what have we got? A glazed over look in his eye that says “12 years old”, a mop of curly hair that Guy Sebastian should be worried about and a slight kookiness to his behaviour pretty much sums up Pauly Shore. All of his roles enable him to act the fool. Oh, sorry, that should read “be the fool”. To be totally honest, this is the type of acting that this reviewer would generally steer well clear of, but something about Pauly Shore gives him a quality that is suitable for a night’s brain-free entertainment. So maybe it’s just because I actually happened to like the film too – now the old VHS copy can be placed safely in storage. Even his other films fit this mindless genre, and actually are entertaining to watch with a good laugh to be had – absolutely selfish and daft actions in Bio Dome, wimpier than, well, my right arm, in In the Army Now and who can forget “penis envy” from Jury Duty. Hang on, this can’t be right – someone’s spiked my drink – this can’t be fact? Can it? A reviewer praising Pauly Shore?

    Oh what shame, admitting to enjoying a Pauly Shore film.

    That’s a comment that you can never recover from. *sigh* Oh well...

    Son in Law also sports Carla Gugino (playing Rebecca) who has moved on to bigger things against the wee spies in the Spy Kids movies, playing their mother. Lane Smith, memorable to this reviewer from Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, plays Rebecca’s farmer father Walter with a bit of a grumpy-old-man edge to it, and comes quite close to stealing the show.

    Rebecca has just graduated and heads off to Los Angeles to go to college – definitely a big change from her upbringing back on the farm in South Dakota. She soon discovers that the big city isn’t her scene – her clothes are different, the people are different – and she just doesn’t fit in. Now enter the theme of “change”. As Rebecca puts it in her opening speech, “change, it’s all around us. Change, it happens whether we want it to or not.” This is the pivotal theme of the film (yes, I know, what’s wrong with me, I’m analysing a Pauly Shore film – aaaarrrggghhh!) and the first sign of change is sparked by the resident advisor, Crap, no wait, Crotch... uh, no, um Crawl, played by Pauly Shore. When he first arrived at College six years earlier, he was sporting a nerdish look and is now a pretty cool guy. And yes, that’s cool by 1993 standards. So, he takes Becca (formerly Rebecca) by the arm and gets her to mingle with the people, losing the length of her hair and, of course, the length of her dress. By now three months has passed and it’s Thanksgiving. And Crawl is all alone, so Becca has an idea – he should come home and spend it with her family. And now all hell breaks loose – we have Crawl loose on a farm (and thankfully it’s only a PG rated film) and a new look Becca that just shocks her family. But the shocks keep coming, when Becca’s oafish jock boyfriend starts to propose – ah how sweet - but this isn’t what she had in mind, so she looks for help from Crawl, who announces that he had already proposed to her back at school. And then we kick off – how is he going to support Becca? Well he’s gonna give it a go at being a farmer, just like Walter, but takes a rather camp Crawl edge to it all. It really is the worst nightmare of any parent, but as the central theme suggests, change is always around us and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.


    Presented in an anamorphically enhanced widscreen aspect of 1.85:1, Son in Law actually looks pretty decent, surprising this reviewer. Colours are bright and healthy, and show a solid compression effort with little posterisation. Grain is light and fluffy, subtly coating the image but not terribly distracting. The biggest grump is with the constant flicker of film artefacts that zip past for nearly the entire duration. These are pretty minor and quite discrete, but still a tad messy. It’s a budget disc, so what can you do? The clarity of the image is quite nice, boasting a solid sharpness with only a minute soft edge to some scenes. Really, for a 1993 film, this transfer is just great, only held back by some very minor annoyances.


    Containing three audio tracks, the English Dolby Digital is the prime and default option, a 192kB/s surround-encoded track that is quite neat, easily complimenting the video quality. For a film of this genre there is little reason to include a 5.1 mix, as seen with the recently reviewed Betsy’s Wedding, as surround activity is severely limited and there’s no sudden bangs that require a subwoofer. Dialogue comes cleanly from the centre channel, and is distinguishable for most of the film with a few louder scenes muffling the dialogue. Now this same effect could be experienced on the VHS release too, so it may actually be a production issue rather than a transfer issue. Richard Gibbs’ score is very fitting for the film, but nothing terribly special – it really acts as scene-setting mood music. Following in the video transfer’s footsteps, there is little to complain about here; what has been presented has been done so nicely, and it’s now preserved on DVD.


    Sorry, these were left in the other tractor...


    Son in Law is 92 minutes of purely kooky, mindless fun, and if you’re after real depth, look in a wading pool because you’re likely to find more there. Transfer-wise the video holds up quite nicely, and is definitely an improvement from this reviewer’s 4:3 VHS copy (as we'd all hope), and the audio is presented cleanly, but doesn’t offer anything terribly special. The total lack of features is expected on a budget release, but the inclusion of a trailer, at least, would have been nice.

    If you’re up for a totally mind-numbing experience without a single neuron required, give Son in Law a shot. Just remember, your own relations aren’t that bad – they could be as wired as Crawl.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3710
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      And I quote...
    "If you’re up for a totally mind-numbing experience without a single neuron required, give Son in Law a shot..."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS530
    • TV:
          Sharp SX76NF8 76cm Widescreen
    • 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 Component RCA
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