Serving Sara (2002)

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Released 13-Aug-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Deleted Scenes-2
Theatrical Trailer-1:38
Audio Commentary-Reginald Hudlin (Director)
Additional Footage-Extended Alternate Scenes - 3
Outtakes-3
Featurette-Making Of-A Look Inside The Process
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 95:30
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:26) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Reginald Hudlin
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Matthew Perry
Elizabeth Hurley
Bruce Cambell
Amy Adams
Vincent Pastore
Cedric The Entertainer
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Marcus Miller


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

Matthew Perry has done the best of the Friends cast at getting decent movies. I rather liked The Whole Nine Yards and Three to Tango, and I even enjoyed Fools Rush In (there's a reference to Salma Hayek in this film, possibly because she was his co-star in Fools Rush In). When I saw his name on this film, I had high hopes.

Elizabeth Hurley, on the other hand, has mostly gotten roles that play on her obvious good looks. She is one of the few women ever upstaged by a dress, and possibly the only woman who was wearing the dress at the time (I think you remember the dress I mean). When I saw her name on the film, my high hopes dropped. But I'm an optimist maybe he could help her succeed?

They have included a couple of moments that make use of Ms Hurley's more obvious assets, specifically so those scenes can appear in the trailer. We have the moment when she loses her trousers, revealing a tasteful pair of lacy white knickers, and the moment that she lifts her T-shirt (away from camera), flashing her chest at a hotel clerk. Don't get your hopes up these are the only two moments in the film that come close to revealing her charms. I wonder if someone in wardrobe was feeling a bit malicious? the T-shirt she wears for a good part of the movie reads "Trailer Trash".

The storyline had some promise. Joe Tyler (Matthew Perry) is a process server. Process serving is a strange job: hand-delivering legal papers (such as subpoenas) and getting proof of the delivery, including the time of delivery. Joe works for Ray Harris (Cedric the Entertainer), as does Tony (Vincent Pastore). Joe hasn't been doing too well at his job lately, and he grabs eagerly at the chance to serve divorce papers on Sara Moore (Elizabeth Hurley) for a big 5 grand. She, being English, doesn't understand the implications of the serving process (neither did I!) apparently it gives the person who starts the proceedings the opportunity to choose the jurisdiction. Sara's husband, Gordon (Bruce Campbell) has chosen Texas, because it gives him the best chance of depriving her of any divorce settlement. Had she served him first, she could have chosen New York, pretty much guaranteeing a 50% divorce settlement, and 50% of 20 million dollars is a lot more than zero. She offers him a million dollars to switch sides. He takes it. And the race is on... Can Joe and Sara serve Gordon before Tony can serve Sara?

The ingredients of this comedy sound good. Some genuine comedy talents, a truly beautiful woman, and a set-up that could be quite funny. Somehow it just doesn't work. I don't know what the problem is (I suspect I could get a really high-paid job in Hollywood if I knew...), but it simply fails to raise more than the occasional wry smile. It becomes a one-note procession from one not-very-funny (and sometimes quite crude) set-piece to another. If you are in the mood to watch something with your brain turned off, maybe you'll enjoy this film, but don't expect too much.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced. I think this is the original theatrical aspect ratio, even if the cover slick does claim that the transfer is 2.35:1, and that that is the theatrical ratio.

The image is sharp, clear, and attractive, which is appropriate, given how recently this film was made. Shadow detail is a bit variable, from adequate to not really good enough. There is no visible film grain. There's no low-level noise.

Colour is fairly well-rendered, and there are some really bright colours, especially in the clothing (get a load of the suits Cedric the Entertainer wears!). There are no colour-related artefacts.

There are a couple of tiny film artefacts, but you have to look very closely to see them they will probably be invisible on any regular display.

There are a few moments of noticeable aliasing, such as on the car grilles at 66:51, but they are rare and not all that objectionable. There's no significant moire, and no noticeable MPEG artefacts.

The only subtitles are English for the Hearing Impaired. They are easy to read, well-timed to the dialogue, and as accurate as most.

The disc is single-sided and RSDL-formatted. The layer change is at 67:26. It's not a particularly good change: there's quite a pause, and on some players it's rather noticeable.

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

Audio

The soundtrack is only provided in English. It is Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps.

The dialogue is clear and comprehensible. There are no audio sync issues, save for one mistake when Kate invites Joe into the house she delivers a line with her mouth shut.

Marcus Miller is responsible for the score, and he does quite a reasonable job of it. There are fragments of quite a few songs included in the soundtrack, too.

Most of the time the surrounds are used quite subtly, but there are a couple of quite neat instances of directional sound that serve to remind you of why you bought those rear channel speakers. The subwoofer gets almost nothing to work on, but it's not really required by this movie.

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

Extras

There are more than a few extras.

Menu

The main menu is animated with music (that rapidly becomes grating), but it is easy to use. One strange thing: the photo used as a background to the Special Features menu really doesn't look like Elizabeth Hurley.

Deleted Scenes

We get two deleted scenes, with or without director's commentary. The commentary is pretty insignificant: he has nothing to say about the second deleted scene, and says nothing until more than halfway through the first one.

Theatrical Trailer (1:38)

As I mentioned above, this trailer features both moments that imply Ms Hurley spends lots of time incompletely attired. If that's what you are looking for, watch the trailer again it's a lot shorter than the movie, and has the same scenes.

Commentary: director Reginald Hudlin

This is not the best commentary I've listened to, but it's not bad. He leaves quite a few gaps, but he has quite a bit to say, and doesn't repeat himself.

Featurette: A Look Inside the Process (19:09)

I thought this might explain more about the strange phenomenon that is process-serving. It doesn't. This is a standard making-of featurette, completely with a profusion of "he's wonderful", "she's beautiful". The opening segment is amusing, where the director explains that he made comments on the script to convince the producers to hire him, even though he hadn't read it, then discovered after reading it that his comments were applicable...

Extended Alternate Scenes

Three extended versions of scenes that are in the film, presented with or without director's commentary. He doesn't have a lot to say about these, either.

Outtakes

Three out-takes, basically slightly different takes of scenes that are in the film, some of which didn't go too smoothly. Once again, available with or without director's commentary.

R4 vs R1

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

The Region 1 disc comes in two versions: one full-screen and one wide-screen. Both have the same extras as this disc. They are both single layered discs, which may mean that they have been compressed more heavily than this one, although it does mean that they don't have a layer change...

I think you may be better off with the R4, if only because you can rent it, rather than buy.

Summary

A comedy that really doesn't work, on a DVD that's really nicely made.

The video quality is very good.

The audio quality is very good.

The extras are pretty much complete.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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