A Life Less Ordinary

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Details At A Glance

Category Romantic Black Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 99:20 minutes Other Extras Cast & Crew Interviews
Featurette-On Set Interviews
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Selection,
then Aspect Ratio,
then Menu
Region 2,4 Director Danny Boyle

Starring Ewan McGregor
Cameron Diaz
Holly Hunter
Delroy Lindo
Ian Holm
Maury Chaykin
Dan Hedaya
Ian McNeice
Tony Shaloub
Stanley Tucci
Case Super Jewel
RRP $34.95 Music Randall Poster

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ?
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No

Plot Synopsis

    A Life Less Ordinary is the Trainspotting's team's take on the romantic comedy genre. As such, there is a lot of very black humour in this film, a lot of it very funny. As well as this, there seem to be a number of shots and lines in this movie that are deliberately provocative and irritating. I personally found it hard to decide whether I liked the movie or whether it was just plain irritating. I suspect that this movie will grow on me with time and with further viewings.

    Ewan McGregor is Robert, a cleaner who has just been fired, and whose girlfriend has just dumped him for an aerobics instructor. He storms in on his boss, Naville (Ian Holm) and insists that he be reinstated. Almost by default, he kidnaps Celine (Cameron Diaz), Naville's daughter.

    Overseeing the ensuant misadventure are two angels, Jackson (Delroy Lindo) and O'Reilly (Holly Hunter).

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is excellent.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The disc is a dual layer disc, with a Pan & Scan version of the movie on the other layer of the disc.

    The transfer is very sharp and very clear, except for the scenes set in Heaven which were deliberately overexposed and almost totally white. Shadow detail was good, and no low level noise was apparent.

    The colours were vivid and well saturated with some very pleasing cinematography to enjoy, unlike the very dank Trainspotting.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some trivial aliasing, but that was all. Film artefacts were occasionally present, but were not intrusive.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 5.1 and German Dolby Digital 5.1.

    The dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.

    Audio sync was not a problem on this disc until the end credits, where the ending dialogue is noticeably out of sync with the video.

    The score is comprised of a number of disparate songs, from the contemporary grunge sound to old standards.

     The surround channels were well used and kept moderately active with the music and some ambience and special effects. Whilst not particularly enveloping, the soundtrack nonetheless did a reasonable job of enveloping you in the movie.

    The .1 channel was used moderately to support the music and for the special effects.


    All of the extras are presented in an aspect ratio of 4:3 with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

What's Missing / What's Extra

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on;     This is undoubtedly a Region 4 winner.


    The menu design is average and is the usual Polygram-style menu.


    This contains detailed cast biographies.

Cast & Crew Interviews

    These are short bites, along the lines of the Village Roadshow interviews. They can be played as individual questions or all strung together. There are a lot of these on the disc.

Featurette - On Set Interviews (6 1/2 minutes)

    This is a combination of the theatrical trailer, some of the interviews, and some behind the scenes footage. Nothing to write home about.

Featurette - Behind The Scenes (3 1/2 minutes)

    This is uncommented behind the scenes footage and is of limited value.


    A Life Less Ordinary had good moments and bad moments. The disc is exemplary, so if you want the movie, you will not be disappointed with our version. If you are unsure about the movie, I'd recommend a rental first.

    The video quality is very good. It is 16x9 enhanced, whereas the Region 1 version of this disc is not. It is in the correct theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 whereas the Region 1 version of this disc is incorrectly framed at 2.35:1, so our version is clearly superior to the Region 1 version.

    The audio quality is above average.

    The extras are limited and they aren't great, but there are more of them than on the Region 1 disc.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
1st July 1999
Amended 21st December 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer