So Undercover (2012)

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Released 10-Apr-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Comedy Trailer-x 3 for other films
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 89:46
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tom Vaughan
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Allan Loeb
Steven Pearl
Alexis Knapp
Miley Cyrus
Jeremy Piven
Joshua Bowman
Autumn Reeser
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, outlakes at the end

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Molly (Miley Cyrus) is a small time private investigator. She is hired by FBI agent Armon (Jeremy Piven) to go undercover in the KKZ college sorority to keep an eye on Alex (Lauren McKnight), the daughter of a man about to give evidence against the Mafia. It seems that Alex also knows where some of the Mafia’s financial records are hidden. The FBI is afraid that someone has been planted at the KKZ to threaten Alex and to find the records. It is up to Molly to protect Alex and unearth the mole within the sorority; at the same time she needs to survive the snooty college girls led by Sasha (Eloise Mumford), the ditzy blonde Cotton (Megan Park) and Hunter (Morgan Calhoun), and her no nonsense roommate Becky (Kelly Osbourne). One or more of these girls may not be who they seem and, just to complicate things further, Molly becomes attracted to Nicholas (Joshua Bowman), a student who may also have secrets of his own.

     Critics have labelled So Undercover as being dull and clichéd and Miley Cyrus as poor. While the film is certainly nothing new and not high art it is not as bad as that. Director Tom Vaughan (What Happens in Vegas (2008)) has crafted a film that is lightweight to be sure but it is a lot of fun. Miley Cyrus (TVs Hannah Montana) is sweet but limited, certainly not convincing as a hard edged P.I., and while the film pokes fun at the usual sorority cliché types, such as the ditzy Cotton or the self-obsessed Taylor (Alexis Knapp), it does so in a friendly manner that is never nasty or over the top. The film is also quite funny in places, such as the Molly makeover, and it avoids the toilet humour and gross out jokes that can be prevalent in some teen comedy.

     Yes, So Undercover is clichéd, nothing different and the love interest with Joshua Bowman included just because the film requires a romance angle. But it is a light-hearted family film that, although rated M for violence, this is low key and minimal. There are far worse comedies out there to spend 90 minutes with.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     So Undercover is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The print is generally sharp and finely detailed, with good definition of faces in close-up. Colours are nice and natural looking without any obvious manipulation, blacks solid and shadow detail good. If anything, the brightness is at the upper end, so that items such as light coloured cars emit glare, and some skin tones look quite pale.

     The print shows frequent blurring with motion and some aliasing, and the end titles shimmer appreciably. However marks are not present.

     English descriptive subtitles for the hearing impaired are available.

     The print is acceptable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 Kbps. There is also an English audio description track for the vision impaired at 224 Kbps.

     Dialogue is mostly clear although some of the accents adopted by the girls in the sorority house make their words sometimes difficult to understand. I doubt if anything is missed, and there are the subtitles if necessary. The surrounds were mostly used for music and ambient effects but there were some directional pans, such as cars and motorbike. The sub-woofer added weight to the music and to the explosion at the end.

     The music score is composed of classical music by Rossini and J.S. Bach plus covers of a range of pop songs. The music was effective and nicely represented in the audio mix.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The audio track was nice and did what was required.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     On start-up there were trailers for Safe Haven, Beautiful Creatures and Silver Linings Playbook, that collectively run 6:10. There are no other extras and these trailers cannot be selected from the menu.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     So Undercover has been released in Region 1 US and Region 2 UK without extras (both the DVD and Blu-ray). Indeed the Region 1 US NTSC disc is listed as being in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Buy the local version.

Summary

     So Undercover is lightweight but it is funny, it avoids gross out humour and its 90 minutes are good natured. There are far worse films to spend 90 minutes with!

     The video and audio are acceptable; there are no relevant extras, although there are none available in other regions either.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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