Grownups (2002)

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Released 16-Apr-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Gallery-Photo-20
Theatrical Trailer-1:45
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 81:23
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Doug Finelli
Studio
Distributor
Bridge & Tunnel Prod
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring John Stamos
Daniel London
Meredith Salenger
Tara Westwood
Jessica Walter
Tony Roberts
Bill Sage
Paul Michael Valley
Anthony LaMagna
Blake Ferris
Vanessa Aspillaga
Marianne Hettinger
Carol Alt
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Joe Delia


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

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

Plot Synopsis

    "Grownup" — a childish word for "adult". Quite appropriate, given that this film is about adults acting immaturely.

    Steve (John Stamos) and Eric (Daniel London) have been friends since childhood in the 1970s — this is confirmed by some simulated home movie footage of their childhood before the opening credits, footage that ends with them wishing to be grownups. Cut to today, when they are adult (at least chronologically). They still respond to one another with the genteel "F*** you, nob". They are both married now: Steve to Claire (Tara Westwood), and Eric to Ami (Meredith Salenger). Eric suggests, at his small birthday party of the four of them, that they swap wives. He has made the suggestion before, and the reaction is the same: amused rejection.

    The two women are wanting to move on with their lives — both of them want children, but neither husband is ready. Steve feels a need to do something unusual, a change. Eric is somewhat sexually repressed, and has only ever slept with Ami. After a big disappointment, Steve seizes upon the idea of wife-swapping as the change he needs. He talks Claire around (she seems to be the one with the fewest hang-ups). Ami is horrified. She has a pair of somewhat prudish and annoying parents; her mother (Jessica Walter) keeps nagging her about children, while her father (Tony Roberts) nags her about not completing her degree. In the end, Claire talks Ami into it by talking about the excitement of "new sex", sex with an unfamiliar partner. They set it all up so the two swapped pairs will go to hotels on the same night. They all agree that there'll be no regrets, no recriminations, no ramifications, and no discussion afterwards. It might have worked, if everything went according to plan. But it doesn't...

    This is not a particularly well plotted movie, but there are some nice touches, like the difference between Steve's idea of providing a nice dinner for his wife, and Eric's idea of the same. The differences between their marriages — Steve and Claire talk to each other, while Eric and Ami talk at each other — if nothing else, could be viewed as an object lesson in how to communicate within a marriage.

    Funnily enough, this film seemed a little tedious and clichéd up to and even during the swap, but got much more interesting and believable afterwards. The resolution is more than a little difficult to credit, though. If you aren't feeling particularly critical (with or without alcoholic assistance), you may well enjoy this as a lightweight comedy with an unsubtle moral.

    This disc has that vile video piracy ad at the start — it particularly annoys me because it's a British ad (yeah, it does quote an Australian phone number at the end, but only after the British and Irish ones). The claim that video piracy funds terrorism is somewhat questionable, too, even though we do know that al Qaeda owns a video recorder. Still, at least the makers of this disc have made it possible to fast-forward through this time (you can't hit chapter skip, unfortunately).

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 1.33:1, and is therefore not 16x9 enhanced. The original theatrical aspect ratio is reported to be 1.85:1. This is definitely not an open matte effort — the framing makes it clear that it is pan-and-scan, and not a brilliantly-executed pan-and-scan, either: some shots cut one of the characters in half (have a look at the bar scene about 63 minutes in).

    The image is a little soft, especially on longer shots. Shadow detail is not all that good — colours in shade tend to become solid, usually black. Film grain is not a problem in most scenes. There is no low-level noise. Edge enhancement is strongly visible quite often.

    Colour is fairly well-rendered, although some of the scenes are lit with coloured light, resulting in off-looking flesh-tones. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are a few film artefacts, but they are pretty much negligible, save in the deliberately scratched up simulated home movie before the opening credits.

    There is quite a bit of mild aliasing (and a pile of heavy aliasing on the closing credits), but no moiré, and no MPEG artefacts.

    There is a subtitle track, but it doesn't seem to have anything in it as far as I can ascertain.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered. That means no layer change, and the movie is short enough not to require too much compression to fit into the single layer.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in English, Dolby Digital 2.0, not marked as surround encoded. The vast bulk of it is essentially mono, although there are moments that display a bit of stereo separation, but they stick out as unusual.

    The dialogue is clear and easy enough to understand, even with a low level of noise in the soundtrack. There are no obvious audio sync problems.

    The score, from Joe Delia, spends some of its time harking back to the 1970s, the decade that Steve complains he missed.

    The surrounds and subwoofer go unused.

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

Extras

Menu

    The main menu is animated with music. It's basically two very grainy images being wiped back and forth.

Gallery: Photos

    Twenty photos from the film, with manual movement back and forth through the gallery. It could do with a caption on the last photo indicating how to get out of the gallery.

Theatrical Trailer (1:45)

    This is a normal trailer, especially in that it blows the big surprises — don't watch it before you see the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    As far as I can ascertain, this film was supposed to be released on DVD in Region 1 in March 2003, but I haven't found a review of the DVD, and it doesn't seem to be listed at any of the major on-line stores.

Summary

    A modestly entertaining comedy/drama, on a fairly basic disc.

    The video quality is reasonably good, but it is a pan-and-scan transfer.

    The audio quality is good enough.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, April 03, 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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