The Medicine Show (2001)

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Sell-Through Release Status Unknown
Available for Rent

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 102:24
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Wendell Morris
Studio
Distributor
Imagine Entertainmnt
Imagine Entertainment
Starring Jonathan Silverman
Natasha Gregson Wagner
Greg Grunberg
Kari Wuhrer
Annabelle Gurwitch
Patty McCormack
Maz Jobrani
Jason Lemons
Norman Parker
Dennis Lipscomb
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Rental Music Michael Mattioli


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 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

     I quite enjoyed Jonathan Silverman's performance in the little TV series The Single Guy and thought, perhaps, that he'd bring his gentle charm to this story. But The Medicine Show is asinine, brittle and twee and Silverman's performance is woeful. Taylor Darcy (Silverman) is a hip, slick cartoon writer who's living a solipsistic dream as a successful man about town. But his life is threatened by colon cancer, and his emotional world shatters with the realisation that this was the same condition that killed his father.

     Upon entering hospital he finds his usual defences of sardonic wit provide no protection from a rampaging disease and the dehumanising culture of hospital systems. His only refuge comes from his chance encounter with Lynn Piegi (Natasha Gregson Wagner) - a leukaemia sufferer. Together, they create their own world within a world.

     Ironically, this script was written and directed by one Wendell Morris, who used much of his own life experience to create the story. One would have thought that with such personal involvement, there would be a more cohesive end product. But the dialogue is dull, the story lifeless and there is exactly zero chemistry between the performers. Note to future writers/directors: liberal sprinklings of the "F" word and the "C" word does not automatically make your script more grown up.

     The Medicine Show is unengaging, unsympathetic claptrap. Perhaps belying the writer's background, the characters are 2 dimensional and cartoonish at best, with stereotypes abounding at every turn. If you would prefer a more edifying exploration of similar themes, try Randa Haines' 1991 offering, The Doctor, with William Hurt. Because this little puppy is DOA.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, Full Screen.

     The transfer is reasonably sharp, but suffers from compression issues which emphasises its 2 dimensional quality. There is reasonable shadow detail and little low level noise.

     The colour range was acceptable although skin tones had a tendency to ruddiness.

     There were some transfer artefacts, noticeably aliasing issues on the usual suspects.

     There were no subtitles.

     The disc is single sided with no layer change to contend with.

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

Audio

     There is one audio track on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 2.0. The sound is acceptable although not particularly inspiring.

     The dialogue quality was reasonable with reasonable ease in understanding what was being said. However, the audio sync was very bad and became progressively worse throughout the production.

     The original music by The Fun Girls was actually quite lovely, and was probably the freshest and most appealing aspect of the production.

     The surround presence was minimal and there was no subwoofer activity at all.

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

Extras

Menu

      The menu design featured theme music and an animated clip.

Theatrical Trailer

     This is the strangest trailer I've ever seen - it's just a collection of clips from the film, but even cruder, rougher vision - like a montage of a B roll. I can't imagine that they ever used it to actually promote this film.

R4 vs R1

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

     There appears to be no difference between the R1 & R4 versions of this DVD. Choose your local region.

Summary

     The sickest thing about this film is the script. It is unsympathetic, unimaginative and dull. The performers drudge along from scene to scene - fully aware of which stereotype they are expected to portray. The result is ordinary in the extreme. Forget about it.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Friday, May 14, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

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