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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Spanish, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras

    The Marrying Man

    Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 112 mins . M15+ . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    Goshdarn this computer always glaring reproachfully at me. Confusing my eyes with its trickery and magic, confounding what I think I see and scrambling it up in my mind. I thought this film was called The Michelin Man.

    Still, I was rewarded with a surprisingly good film, regardless of my error. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of Alec Baldwin, I do like Kim Basinger so gave it a whirl in the old DVD player. Surprisingly, Mr. Baldwin doesn’t play a greasy helpful person who turns, snake-like, at the last minute to betray everyone and anyone. Ms. Basinger (who liked Mr. Baldwin so much in real life they got married) plays a sultry lounge singer and actually performs her own songs here! (Not to say she wrote them, she just does her own singing stunt work). And the story, while perhaps drawn out the teeeensiest bit, is funny and lighthearted and as noted, surprisingly good.

    Alec Baldwin plays Charley Pearl, a rich playboy who is about to settle down and marry Adele (Elisabeth Shue). Adele’s father thinks he’s up to no good, but Charley, swinging bachelor that he is, is on the level and seriously loves her. He’s not hot for her, but he loves her. Just before the nuptials Charley’s buddies take him to Las Vegas for a wild buck’s weekend of debauchery, but Charley just wants to head home to Adele. After promising the guys a drink, they all stop by a western themed casino/lounge bar and that’s where the bottom drops out of Charley’s world when he gets hot for Vicki Anderson, a nobody singer. Unfortunately she is also the girlfriend of a notorious gangster (Armand Asante) and before long Charley is up to his nuptials in deep doo-doo.

    "I never thought about him dying… he just didn’t seem the type."

    After the gangster’s sick punishment is meted out, Charley and Vicki recover by heading back to Los Angeles where they part. Only months later, as Charley is once again about to get hitched to Adele, he accidentally bumps into Vicki and the old spark is rekindled in volatile fashion. But what to do about Adele and her maniacal father?

    There are some good laughs here with some very witty dialogue penned by Neil Simon, that long-standing good fella of playwrights. Performances are particularly enjoyable with the cast all having plenty of fun with the storyline and characters. Set in Hollywood, Vegas and San Francisco during the heady ‘50s, the attention to detail is another bold factor of the film, with plenty of rich characters driving some absolutely killer automobiles. The dialogue is of the time and respects us enough to leave any modern expressions or references to the ‘future’ out (except for a late one about investing in ‘computers’… like they’ll never catch on, etc… )

      Video
    Contract

    A Buena Vista transfer is usually a delight and for the most part here they come to the party in the usual style. There are a few film artefacts, given the film is 13 years old this year, but nothing that will curl your hair. Flesh tones are even (and there is a bit too as Baldwin and Basinger get down and primal occasionally). Shadow detail fluctuates, but blacks are true throughout with the rest of the colour palette being perfectly even and well saturated. Oddly, the film has been delivered in 1.85:1 without anamorphic enhancement, but this kinda contributes to the ‘50s style, believe it or not. I thought so anyway. The only real flaw lies in a frame wobble at 54:14 where the image bobs up and down for a fleeting instant. It doesn’t bother the film much, but then I noticed it.

      Audio
    Contract

    Dialogue is mostly clear here, which is good being a mainly dialogue and song fuelled story. Ms. Basinger can truly sing and has a decent range and I’m surprised she hasn’t sung more in films actually. Sometimes I tripped over Paul Reiser’s pronunciation sometimes, but that might just be me. He partially narrates the tale and does a pretty good job, but delivers it in the style we are all accustomed to since Mad About You.

    Sound effects are well synched, although there appear to be one or two lines re-dubbed in post-production. No matter. The music by David Newman is simply perfect for the film with chirpy and moody and comic all delivered in the right manner at the right time. Plus, of course, all Ms. Basinger’s songs which sound just great. Handed over in Dolby Digital 5.1, the subwoofer doesn’t do much and the surrounds get about two minutes work in crowd scenes and that’s about all. Still, overall, it’s deliciously clean and sounds crystal clear.

      Extras
    Contract

    Sorry kids, nothing in this bit but ten chapters in the scene selection bit. Oh well.

      Overall  
    Contract

    It took me the first 15 minutes to get into and the last 15 minutes to get out of, but overall the film is a nice lighthearted story of a bizarre romance in the bizarre world of 1950s America. I was more impressed than I ever expected to be and found every character interesting and even funny, but Baldwin and Basinger win the day here I’m afraid. They bounce perfectly off each other and they do share a unique if confusing chemistry that works well for the film (and no doubt their homelife).

    Worth a look for fans of either or anyone after a well-written modern romance with some bizarre twists.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3713
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      And I quote...
    "A genuinely funny story which all hinges on one particularly cruel (and funny) act… "
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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