Roger Dodger (2002)

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Released 4-Dec-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Trailer-Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War; The Truth About Charlie
Menu Animation & Audio
Theatrical Trailer-2:24
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Notes-A Player's Guide to Scoring with Women
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 101:27
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (73:47) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Dylan Kidd
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Campbell Scott
Jesse Eisenberg
Elizabeth Berkley
Jennifer Beals
Isabella Rossellini
Case ?
RPI ? Music Craig Wedren


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, extensive
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Roger (Campbell Scott) is not a nice man, nor a particularly likeable one, although he is smart. We first meet him being a smart-alec at lunch with friends, well, actually, colleagues (we get to wondering later if he has any friends). He declaims at length on the subject that the male of the human species will be discarded by evolution because scientists are on the verge of fertilising a human egg without a sperm. Later, he enters an apartment, startling the woman who lives there — we saw her at lunch, and she turns out to be his boss and sometime lover, Joyce (Isabella Rossellini).

    Roger thinks himself an expert on sex, and on picking up women for sex. Yet we see him strike out a couple of times, and don't see him succeed. He has a very smooth line of patter, but his hyper-confidence / arrogance seems to put them off.

    After a confrontation with Joyce in the office, he is surprised to find a youth at his desk. The youth is his nephew, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), who has come to him for advice. Nick is 16 years old and a virgin (American movies to the contrary, that's far from unusual, and nothing to get worried over). Nick has come to Roger for help in changing that situation. Initially Roger isn't keen, but is unable to resist the appeal to his vanity, so he starts teaching him technique. Strangely, the start of his technique seems to involve looking up girl's skirts and down their cleavages (can't say I'm convinced that this will help Nick pick up girls). Roger's instruction starts late afternoon, and extends late into the night.

    Amongst their adventures this evening, they chat up a pair of girls in a bar: Andrea (Elizabeth Berkley) and Sophie (Jennifer Beals). Roger's eloquence gets them initially interested, but it's Nick's gentleness that seems to be more attractive...

    If you were wondering what happened to Elizabeth Berkley since Showgirls, and Jennifer Beals since Flashdance, this film is part of the answer. It's amusing to learn that Elizabeth Berkley has a degree in English Literature, while Jennifer Beals has one in American Literature.

    It's kind of sad how much of Roger's self-esteem is founded in his supposed skill. Apart from this, he really has nothing. Although there are some brief moments of comedy in this film, it is looking at Roger's failings as a human, and Nick's embarrassment and faltering attempts to follow Roger's advice, that I found most interesting, as well as watching Nick's real self come out, when he can't be completely sleazy.

    I'm in two minds over this film. On one level, I don't like it much (mostly because I don't like Roger, although I do feel a little sorry for him), but on another I find it strangely fascinating. And the ending is cool.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The theatrical aspect ratio was probably 1.85:1, judging from the use of spherical optics on 35mm film.

    The image is quite soft, mostly because of film grain, which varies from barely visible through to medium strong. Most of the film is shot in fairly low light conditions, and even the most sensitive of 35mm film emulsions can be forgiven for showing grain in these light conditions. Shadow detail is quite limited due to the low light, but becomes reasonable in those scenes with more light. There's no low-level noise, but at times the film grain gives a similar appearance.

    Colour is subdued by production design, but is fairly well-rendered. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are frequent tiny film artefacts, in the form of tiny flecks and chips, and one larger round spot at 86:06. Additionally, quite a bit of the film has been shot hand-held, so we get some minor camera shake.

    There's no discernible aliasing or moiré, probably because of the film grain. There are no MPEG errors.

    There are no subtitles at all.

    The disc is single-sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change comes at 73:47, and is placed at a moment when the screen is black, so it's not visible, but I noticed it because the hiss on the soundtrack stopped briefly.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is only provided in English, but we're given the choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 (448kbps), and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224kbps) not surround-encoded. I listened to the 5.1 soundtrack.

    The dialogue is clear and understandable. There's a fair bit of hiss in the soundtrack in quiet passages (like around 73:30), and moments with wind noise in the microphone (such as at 78:05) — maybe their budget didn't run to ADR? There are no obvious audio sync problems.

    The music is varied, with a great deal of it composed and performed by Craig Wedron.

    The surrounds are hardly used — on the few occasions they come into play it feels forced, like the engineer just remembered their existence and shoved a noise there to justify their inclusion. The subwoofer is not used, but it's not missed — there are no explosions in this film.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is subtly animated with music. It's easy to operate.

Theatrical Trailer (2:24)

    This trailer is presented in wide-screen without 16x9 enhancement.

Interviews: cast and crew

    Much longer than the usual interviews, with some actual content...

A Player's Guide to Scoring with Women

    This is a series of 21 slides summarising Roger's lessons.

Advertising

    Before we get to the menu, we're hit with that rather horrible UK anti-piracy advertisement, followed by a couple of trailers for: Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War and The Truth About Charlie. Adding insult to injury, this stuff is not skippable.

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 version of this disc was released earlier this year. It has a transfer that sounds a little better than this one, but it has a heap more extras.

    The Region 1 disc is missing:

    The Region 4 disc is missing:

    Sadly, this is one time when the imbalance is far too great, and we have to award the platinum peanut to the R1 disc. However, this is the rental release disc, so we can have the hope that the sell-through version will have more to offer when it arrives...

Summary

    A film that's difficult to describe, but somehow interesting, given a transfer that's not too good.

    The video quality is not good.

    The audio quality is mostly good enough, albeit quite frontal.

    The extras are interesting, but nowhere near as extensive as the Region 1 disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, October 19, 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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