The Groomsmen (2001)
Main Menu Audio
Trailer-Lady Jayne Killer, Love Actually, Honey
|Year Of Production||2001|
|Running Time||84:39 (Case: 90)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Lawrence Gay|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
The Groomsmen is a perfect film to cite when someone tries to argue that American Pie is a childish gross-out attempt at humour that is all sight gags and cheap innuendo. It is true art compared to this drivel! The Groomsmen shows that gross-out humour can be offensive, cheap and really, truly not funny.
The basic plot of the film (and believe me, it is truly basic) is a bet between a couple of guys in the lead-up to their friend's imminent wedding. Jay (a seemingly talented Christopher Wiehl) is a bit of a weirdo - he likes committed relationships, much to the horror of his closest friend Dewey (Alex Nesic, who makes Stiffler look erudite). When mover and shaker Scott (Michael Trucco) announces he is getting married after meeting his new girlfriend Theresa only weeks before, the guys are stunned. En-route to his wedding, where they are all to serve as groomsmen, they are joined by token black guy Phil (Duane Martin), who makes Dewey look bright...
So, to the aforementioned bet. Dewey bets Jay that he cannot throw off his commitment shackles and enjoy a one-night stand before the wedding takes place. If he wins, then he gets to "make love" to Jay's deeply religious sister (note that those are my choice of words, Dewey is rather more direct in his vocabulary). Jay meanwhile bets that Dewey cannot pass the weekend without having a one-night stand...and if Jay wins, he gets to keep Dewey's prized convertible. Meanwhile, in the back of said convertible, Phil hilariously (not) gets sprayed with blood from road kill, looks confused a lot and even "moon(s) the b****es" (thanks for the witty phrase, Dewey).
Imagine my surprise when the b****es that have just been mooned turn out to be bridesmaids at the wedding! Imagine my even greater surprise when Theresa (Lisa Brenner) turns out to be none other than Jay's first true love! Imagine how badly I wanted to take out the disc and stamp on it as the utterly predictable plot degenerated in to a never-ending series of sex addicts, stripper's breasts, bodily functions, nipple piercing, contraceptive devices, juvenile dialogue and insensitive jokes aplenty. Interestingly, despite looking for all the world like a typical (bad) American film, this is in reality largely a South African production - one listen to the supporting actors' accents makes you suspect as much, and one look at the end credits confirms it.
This film has been knocking around for about three years now. In the USA they have relaunched it under the new title What Boys Like - I wonder why? I'm not against a bit of gross-out humour, really. I found Old School fitfully amusing, I enjoyed American Pie and I think There's Something About Mary was actually rather good. Unfortunately, The Groomsmen is nowhere near as funny as any of these earlier films. Do yourself a favour and watch something else - anything else - instead. Avoid.
The overall video transfer is reasonable, although it does suffer in the sharpness department a little. On a large projection screen, from the opening scenes the film takes on a soft look occasionally verging on the out-of-focus. The sharpness does improve, but on anything other than a smallish screen it remains fairly mediocre throughout. I suspect that this is due to the fact that it has not been anamorphically enhanced.
The video is presented letterboxed (not 16x9 enhanced) at approximately 1.85:1 which I suspect is the original theatrical aspect ratio.
Black levels are quite deep and without significant noise, but there is a limited amount of detail evident in the shadows. Colours are perfectly acceptable, with a number of bright red and cerise outfits transferring cleanly and demonstrating some solid rendering. Skin tones are fine throughout.
I noticed no major MPEG compression artefacts in the transfer, but there is evidence of pixelization in some of the backgrounds. As mentioned above, viewing on a larger screen (like a projector) soon reveals the limitations in the non-anamorphic encoding. You don't need to look too hard to witness edge enhancement (for example on the chin at 3:18 or the jacket at 20:05) but it is rarely annoying, even on a fairly large image. On my (progressive scan) system there was no evidence of aliasing, but I suspect that the usual suspects will deliver some shimmer on interlaced set-ups.
Minor film artefacts are occasionally present but they are always fleeting and never really become a distraction.
Due to the absence of subtitles, hard of hearing viewers can be spared the delights of this film - including the cheap and clumsy jokes at the expense of deaf people.
This disc is single sided and single layered (DVD 5) so there is no layer change to spot.
The overall audio transfer is acceptable if unremarkable.
We are presented with a single audio track - presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 224 kbps. The dialogue is delivered cleanly enough, but there are some minor intermittent lapses in audio sync (for example at 25:47 or 26:40). This is not overly distracting and you have to be watching quite intently to really notice it. There are no significant problems with hiss, pops or dropouts.
The musical score is occasionally fairly lively, coming courtesy of a number of (to me at least) fairly anonymous pop songs. The sound is credited to supervising editor Jeremy Gordon and music editing to John Reese.
The soundstage is by default fully frontal, but with the aid of Pro Logic II there is quite a lively soundstage created when music is playing at least. The surrounds are generally used to support the musical numbers, but also see some activity for ambient noises such as the party sounds at 55:29. The subwoofer is used to support the bass and drums in some of the musical tracks, courtesy of Pro Logic II. It doesn't add a great deal in the way of LFE but does add some oomph to the music.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no significant extras on offer.
The main menu is silent and static, allowing the options of playing the movie, choosing one of a slim twelve chapter stops and access to the following extra feature:
Running for 2:04 and presented letterboxed at 1.85:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This film has not yet been released on DVD in Region 1. From the limited information currently available it looks like a similarly bare-bones affair. Please, don't buy either - you have been warned.
The Groomsmen is the sort of film that gives gross-out humour a bad name. It is tired, derivative, obvious and insensitive. Take my advice - avoid this even as a rental.
The video quality is acceptable on a small screen, but not being anamorphically enhanced loses a lot of sharpness when viewed on a larger screen.
The audio transfer is acceptable but unremarkable.
The extras are negligible.
|DVD||Harmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|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|