The Baby Juice Express (2001)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Nick Moran (Prod), Mike Hurst (Dir) and Jon Stewart (Music.)
Trailer-The Real Thing, Undercover Brother
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (59:02)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Michael Hurst|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|RPI||$19.95||Music||Mark Hinton Stewart|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Every so often, we reviewers select a disc from the backlog of titles here at MichaelDVD which surprises and delights us. Baby Juice Express is one such title. This is a great example of a low budget comedy which provides that all-too-rare genuinely novel and genuinely funny script.
The story centres on the exploits of an unassuming middle class, graphic design graduate, living in that sexy, English seaside Mecca known to a select few as...Bognor Regis (although shot in Southend). Des (Nick Moran) is infatuated with the British gangster underworld, as personified in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Much to the disgust of his fiancé Lauren (Lisa Faulkner), he yearns to be in with the bad guys, duckin' and divin', wheelin' and dealin' and avoiding the filth. Incidentally, his father just happens to be the local police Chief Constable. His accomplice in crime is Frank O'Reilly (Phil Davis), another low-rent wannabe crim who has done hard time - probably for overdue library fines.
Whilst in the chokey, Frank came up with a grand master plan. A way to get rich quick...to hijack the Baby Juice Express. Krakowski (Nick Brimble) is a criminal mastermind, who, to avoid losing a lucrative set of London real estate titles, must produce an heir. If he dies without one, the Crown will gain title over all his properties. Impregnating his beautiful young wife is a little tricky from behind bars however, so he has developed a complex system of mules to smuggle his still wriggling spermatozoa out of the clink, and into the turkey baster wielded by his wife in Bognor.
Des and Frank are forced to try and hijack the illegal insemination fluid, when they come into possession of some underworld money - and promptly have it stolen by a prostitute. The story is a good-natured swipe at British crime capers, with a novel plot which allows some lovely comic scenarios which bring a wry smile - if not a guffaw - to those lucky enough to watch the film. It contains some laugh out loud moments, and a lovely parody of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. There is also a rather sly swipe at Hugh Grant when Lauren is watching a stereotypical British costume drama on television.
Baby Juice Express is a funny film. It never takes itself too seriously, and whilst it is low budget, it rises above the financial constraints purely on the strength of the scripting and the quality of the performances. There are endless familiar faces present including Julian Clary, Joe Bugner and Cleo Rocos, and there is fun to be had just remembering where you recognise them from. Nick Moran puts in a charming performance, and is quite happy to take a dig at the film that made him famous (he played Eddie in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels). Those offended by colourful language should beware - there is more than a little swearing in the film. Very entertaining and well worth a rental.
The video quality of this transfer is reasonable for a low budget film.
The transfer is generally rather soft and slightly fuzzy throughout, with a noticeable level of grain present. It is presented 16x9 enhanced in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which I assume is the original theatrical aspect ratio.
Black levels are quite deep but there is some low level noise evident. Shadow detail is generally acceptable, although a little limited at times. Colours are fairly well rendered, with no evidence of colour bleeding even on the brightest of cerise or red items.
The transfer has no significant MPEG artefacts, but does suffer throughout from pixelization or grain as mentioned above. Notable examples of grain/pixelization can be seen at 3:40 on the radiator, during the dark scene at 6:22 or on Lauren's skin at 28:40. This is not annoying, but does detract from the overall image quality.
There is no significant aliasing present, but mild examples can be seen on the old favourites of car chrome and road markings around 12:26 or on the striped cushions at 22:50. Mild edge enhancement is present occasionally as a halo around some of the actors, for example at 7:49 or 37:32, but it does not spoil the image in any significant way. Telecine wobble is only evident in the closing titles.
The transfer does bear a few scratches and minor flecks. These film artefacts are generally fleeting and not disturbing.
There are no subtitle tracks on the DVD.
The disc is in a single sided, dual layered RSDL format with the fairly brief layer change located at 59:02.
The overall audio transfer is unremarkable, but without significant flaw.
The sole audio option is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at 224 kbps. The surround flag is not enabled.
The soundtrack is serviceable throughout, with no clicks, pops or drop-outs to be heard. Dialogue is always clear and audio sync was just fine.
Original music is credited to Mark Hinton Stewart. It is a generally unobtrusive score, which suits the caper feel of the film reasonably well, but which you will forget the second you hit the eject button. There are numerous musical sound bites through the film including the wonderful spoof Cockney Geezers In Suits - actually performed by Chas 'n' Dave - hugely popular for a brief period in the UK.
The soundstage is very frontal with the surround speakers having nothing to do. If you make use of Pro Logic II decoding, the surrounds spring to life helping to carry the musical score and some ambient noise. As would be expected however, there is nothing of note in respect of panning or localised rear soundstage effects.
The subwoofer has virtually nothing to do, even with bass redirection.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are a couple of reasonable extras on this DVD.
The menu consists of an animated photograph of test tubes and swimming sperm. It allows you to either play the movie, select one of sixteen chapter stops, or view the following extras:
Nick Moran, Mike Hurst (director) and Jon Stewart (music compiler) provide a very lively, funny, anecdote-laden commentary track. It reveals the numerous movie homages scattered throughout the film and also sheds some light on some surprising cameos which crop up. Interestingly, this audio commentary was recorded specifically for the Australian DVD release. Well worth a listen.
This short feature runs for 19:12 and is a little more enjoyable than the standard EPK material. The entire gang look to have had a whale of a time making this movie. It is presented letterboxed at 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital audio track encoded at 224 kbps.
This trailer runs for 2:30 and is presented letterboxed at 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital audio track encoded at 224 kbps.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This movie does not appear to be available in Region 1 or Region 2 at the moment.
Baby Juice Express shows that a clever script and a good cast can result in a genuinely entertaining movie, without the need for CGI or massive budgets. Original, well written and genuinely funny. Well worth a rental.
The video quality is pretty average.
The audio transfer is technically adequate but not overly engaging.
The extras are limited, but the audio commentary is worth a listen.
|DVD||Harmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|