She's All That (1999)

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Released 10-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Theatrical Trailer-2:03
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 91:43
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Iscove
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Rachael Leigh Cook
Jodi Lyn O'Keefe
Paul Walker
Matthew Lillard
Anna Paquin
Kevin Pollak
Usher Raymond
Kimberly 'Lil' Kim' Jones
Kieran Culkin
Elden Henson
Gabrielle Union
Dule Hill
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Stewart Copeland


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
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 No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr) is doing fine — he's just started his last 8 weeks of high school, he's class president, he's dating the most desirable girl in high school, and they are a shoo-in for prom king and queen. Everything's good until his girlfriend arrives at school. Taylor Vaughn (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) got a tattoo on spring break, and she is now dating Brock Hudson (Matthew Lillard), whose only claim to fame is that he's an idiot on MTV's Real World reality TV. Zack is hurt, especially when his friend Dean (Paul Walker) razzes him about it. Zack responds by claiming he can make any girl in school into the prom queen. That's the kind of statement that leads to a bet. Dean says he'll choose a girl for Zack's challenge, and he chooses Laney Boggs (Rachael Leigh Cook).

    Laney is about as big an outsider as Taylor's ego. She's an artist — she has been advised that many artists are more appreciated after they are dead, so she should kill herself (we all need "friends" like that, right?). She looks after her father and her brother. She's clumsy. She wears unattractive glasses. She wears no makeup. She wears overalls. She even wears a daggy hat while she works in a fast-food joint. They've pulled out all the stops to try to make the beautiful Rachael Leigh Cook look plain (they failed, but they tried hard!).

    This is the predictable My Fair Lady type of story, or so it seems at first, especially when Zack's sister Mackenzie (Anna Paquin) gets involved to do a make-over on Laney. But there are some nice little twists, and they add up to a film that's different enough to be a pleasant time. Two of the interviewees mention that this film was deliberately modelled on early John Hughes films; I'm not sure I'd agree with that, but it does capture the idea of the romantic comedy / teen comedy genre to which this film belongs.

    There are some interesting lesser characters in this film. We get to see Gabrielle Union and Clea DuVall as minor characters, and Sarah Michelle Gellar in a non-speaking role (she's included in a list headed "They're all that" in the end-credits). Tim Matheson, in a single real scene as Zack's father, was haggard-looking, but convincing.

    All up, this is a pleasant film, and I recommend giving it a try. Shame I can't say the same about the transfer...

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, with 16x9 enhancement. The original aspect ratio was 1.85:1, so that's close.

    The image is a little soft, due to what looks film grain, but which may actually be excessive compression (more about this later). Shadow detail is limited, with dark shades dropping off into black rather too quickly. There's no low level noise, but there's plenty of mosquito noise in the backgrounds.

    Colour is generally well-rendered, save for segments around 16:35 and 30:11, where colours look a little off. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are plenty of small film artefacts, such as a chunky white blob at 19:02, a white blotch at 24:28, and a white fleck at 86:50, plus innumerable smaller flecks, specks, and scratches. Worse still, there are reel change markings (check 39:38, 59:35, and 79:15 for examples) — it's massively disappointing that Roadshow couldn't find a better print for a film from 1999.

    There is some aliasing, and a little moiré, but they are as nothing compared with the other problems. There's quite a bit of MPEG background shimmer, but no other MPEG artefacts.

    The only subtitles on this disc are English for the Hearing Impaired. They are perfectly adequate, being well-timed, about as accurate as usual, and easy to read.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered, so there is no layer change. However, I think that someone got over-enthusiastic in their attempts to fit this film into the single layer, and turned the compression up too far — the result looks a lot like film grain, but comparing this to another transfer makes it obvious that the film isn't that grainy. I have seen one example worse than this, but this is really sad.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in one language, English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps.

    The dialogue is easy enough to understand almost all the time, although the occasional piece of teen vernacular may prove unfamiliar. Audio sync is never obviously out, but there are a couple of passages that look marginal.

    The score is provided by Stewart Copeland, but a lot of it is supplanted by songs — there are quite a few songs.

    Even though the soundtrack is 5.1, there is not a lot directed to the surround speakers (there's one or two noticeable passages, but they are noticeable because they're rare). The subwoofer is hardly used, but it's not required by a film like this.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static and silent, and simple, but that's mostly because there's almost nothing to it.

Theatrical Trailer (2:03)

    I hope you like this fairly ordinary trailer, because it's all the extra you get.

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 in 2003. It has a music video, but it is not 16x9 enhanced, and only has a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack instead of a 5.1 mix, so one might normally expect the Region 4 disc to win the comparison, right? Well, not this time.

    I purchased this movie from Region 2, way back in 2002 (it was released a lot earlier there than here). The Region 2 disc has a similar cover (the same photo, but different lettering), but it is in a dark opaque keepcase instead of a transparent one.

    Compared to the Region 2, the Region 4 version is missing:

    There is some distortion in the sound on the interviews with Jodi Lyn O'Keefe (last segment only), Dule' Hill, and Tamara Mello — their comments are still comprehensible.

    The Region 2 version is missing:

    If you want this movie, I feel obliged to recommend the Region 2 disc — the difference is noticeable (it is a good transfer, with no reel change markings and a lot less grain — I don't know why Roadshow didn't licence this PAL transfer). It doesn't hurt that the disc has been out long enough that it is now being marked down — I had a quick look, and found one site offering it for under 5 pounds (UK).

Summary

    An entertaining romantic comedy/teen comedy, given a cheap and nasty transfer to DVD.

    The video quality is not good.

    The audio quality is good enough.

    Don't blink or you'll miss the extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
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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Comments (Add)
R1 release date - DaveS