Slap Her, She's French! (2002)
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Melanie Mayron|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
David Michael Frank
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Starla Grady (Jane McGregor) is your classic caricature of everything that is a successful American teenage schoolgirl from the Deep South. She's pretty, popular, captain of the cheerleading squad, dating the quarterback, and winner of many awards. Her one aim in this world is to be a TV presenter, and her whole life is dictated by a checklist that will see her reach this goal.
Everything is going along just fine until a ploy to win the latest beauty pageant (or whatever the politically correct title is these days) has her family take in a French foreign exchange student. Genevieve LePlouff (Piper Perabo) is said student, and upon her arrival in Texas, Starla takes her under her wing, and in her own uniquely arrogant way tries to "help" the poor, shy girl to make more of herself.
All, of course, is not as it seems though, and the seemingly timid, self-conscious Genevieve gradually starts to infiltrate or sabotage every aspect of Starla's life; her family, her boyfriend, her popularity, her marks at school, and so on. Will people catch onto what's going on before it's too late, or will Genevieve win their hearts and destroy Starla's life? Will the quiet, sincere guy get the girl, or will she go back to her arrogant, quarterback boyfriend? Dip in to find out.
As the title will suggest straight off, Slap Her... She's French is not an attempt at serious, thoughtful film-making, but rather a by-the-numbers teen comedy. Unfortunately, the overwhelming thought in my mind whilst watching this movie was "mediocre" (if it's possible for mediocrity to actually be overwhelming), since nothing really makes this story work, but nothing really makes it a total failure either. The premise of the film is no worse than a lot of very successful teen comedies, but the execution just isn't very memorable.
There's some humour at the expense of both American teen culture and French people, and surprisingly it's far more of the former. None of it really ever becomes laugh-out-loud funny though, and it almost appears to be more of a social commentary on shallow American teenagers. However, the film then tries to take us in a direction which has us feeling sympathy for Starla, and we're lead to believe that beneath all her selfish exterior is a "nice" person. Yet there is no previous indication that this is in any way true, and I for one had great trouble making this gigantic leap of an assumption.
In the end you never really feel either empathy or sympathy for any of the characters (except maybe Starla's poor little brother), as only one or two of them are even remotely likeable. The secondary characters have occasional little sub-plots, such as Starla's alcoholic mother, but they're never given more than a cursory glance, so we don't even know what is meant to be a sub-plot and what is meant to be just an attempt at a one-off joke.
The southern accents also start to annoy after a while, as does Genevieve's French accent, but that's probably getting a bit too picky now.
I've seen worse movies in this genre, but I've seen a lot of much better ones as well. If you're after a teen comedy one evening and you've seen all the decent ones, then this could be worth a rental. Just don't expect a Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Continuing the theme of the movie itself, the video transfer could also best be described as "mediocre". It's not awful, but for a recent release it should be a lot better.
Presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, this video transfer is 16x9 enhanced.
This transfer is not particularly sharp, with some surfaces and edges lacking clarity and definition. This is largely due to grain which is evident throughout, and is even quite extreme in some scenes (by new release standards anyway). Examples can be seen at 1:30, 11:53, 24:05, and 81:52 to name a few. Some of the blacks in the darker scenes exhibit slight low level noise (such as 80:30) as well as poor shadow detail. This is most evident in the dark scenes behind the stage near the end of the movie.
Colour is quite acceptable, with accurate and well-saturated colours displaying no signs of bleeding or chroma noise.
The good news is that I didn't notice any aliasing, edge enhancement, or similar film-to-video artefacts. Film artefacts were also absent.
There are six subtitle streams on this DVD; English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish. I sampled the English stream, and found it to be less that perfect, with frequent words missed out, and occasionally even a whole line of dialogue being ignored.
This is a DVD-5 disc, so there is no layer change of course.
I know this is getting repetitive, but the audio transfer is also rather mediocre, with no major faults, but making little use of the 5.1 audio format.
There is one track on this disc; English Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 448 kpbs.
Dialogue is clear and suffers from no audio sync problems. The only problem people may have is in understanding some of the lines due to the exaggerated accents (French and Southern US).
The music is a mixture of the original score by Christophe Beck and David Michael Frank, some forgettable teenie rock, and even a bit of Country music thrown in as well. There's nothing here that is going to make you wish for a music-only track on the DVD.
The surrounds are rarely used, but do occasionally kick in when there is music, car engines, and any crowd scenes (such as at 78:00).
The subwoofer is also sparingly used, with engines and music bass getting the most work out of it.
|Surround Channel Use|
Even a lot of rental DVDs have extras these days, but not this one.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
At this stage there is no Region 1 version of this DVD available. There is a Region 2 edition with a few differences; stereo soundtrack only, 3 trailers and a 4 minute featurette. I don't think these extras are enough reason to import, especially as you lose the 5.1 soundtrack.
A teen comedy that never really hits the mark. You don't really feel for the characters, and most of the time it's hard to even laugh at them. Having said that, it's not an awful movie and might appeal for a summer evening rental if you're a fan of the teen comedy genre.
The video is not up to scratch for a recent release, but it is watchable.
The audio has no problems, but won't test your home theatre setup.
There are no extras on this rental version.
|DVD||Omni 3600, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS797- THX Select|
|Speakers||Accusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer|