Mail Order Bride (2003)

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Released 9-Jun-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Trailer-Honey, Second To Die, Paycheck
Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer-2:47
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 82:18
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Capelli Jr.
Jeffrey Wolf
Studio
Distributor
Relativity Picts.
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Danny Aiello
Robert Capelli Jr.
Ivana Milicevic
Artie Lange
Slava Schoot
Vincent Pastore
Raymond Serra
Frank Bongiorno
Marilyn J. Papa
Jackie Martling
Steven Ogg
Aleksandr Yakovlev
Liza Zavaruyeva
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music The Red Elvises


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Danny Aiello laughing

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

Plot Synopsis

Bad films get made for lots of reasons, and come in many varieties. I have been trying to work out which kind of bad film this one is. I think it's the "self-indulgent" kind. After all, Robert Capelli Jr co-wrote the film, stars in it, and co-directs. So he's writing lines for himself, then watching himself perform. That's not a recipe for objective assessment.

The basics of the plot aren't that bad. The Italian Mafia (their words, not mine we know the real Mafia is Sicilian) in New Jersey is lead by Tony Santini (Danny Aiello). He is burdened by an idiot nephew, Anthony Santini (Robert Capelli Jr). Tony is troubled by the fact that someone he knows ordered a mail-order bride from Russia, got a girl called Nina (Ivana Milicevic), and she took his money and went straight back to Russia. Apparently this girl did the same thing to four other guys. Tony takes it up with the New Jersey head of the Russian Mafia, Pavel (Steven Ogg). After some mutual incomprehension (not a good part of the script) they decide to send representatives to Moscow to find the girl. Tony chooses to send Anthony, mainly to be rid of him for a while. Pavel decides to send Ivan (Slava Schoot), who is the son of the head of the Russian Mafia in Moscow, for exactly the same reason. Ivan was sent to New Jersey after messing up badly in Moscow.

So the basics of the plot are in place: two idiots sent to Moscow to find a girl. Anthony is well-meaning, but stupid. Ivan doesn't care about much, other than drinking to excess and playing with women. This bodes well for Russian / American Mafia relations...

To be honest, my interest in reviewing this film came about because I was rather impressed with Ivana Milicevic when she appeared in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (as Riley's wife) there she was given some good lines, and managed to come across as an intelligent, effective character. In this film she is given some rather silly lines, and her character seems to change from one scene to the next. She tries hard, and manages to salvage some dignity, but it's not the kind of performance she'll be proud of.

This film could have been quite funny in the hands of the right director, preferably one who could have exercised more discipline over Robert Capelli Jr the actor. As it is, Robert Capelli Jr the director let Robert Capelli Jr the actor get away with doing less than his best. Even so, there are funny moments here, mostly when he isn't trying too hard. Unfortunately, those moments are heavily out-numbered by the scenes that are silly, amateurish, or outright stupid. All in all, this is a poor movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

This film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio was probably 1.85:1, so this is close.

The picture is fairly sharp, with good shadow detail. Film grain varies from light to medium. There is no low-level noise.

Colour is fine. There are plenty of vivid colours on display, and they are rendered fine. There are no colour-related artefacts.

There are no film artefacts of any significance (you'd hope so, given that this film was made last year).

There is aliasing, ranging from minor to medium, depending on the scene. There's some light moire, and more than a little background shimmer. This is not a good transfer, but it will do.

There are no subtitle tracks on the DVD, but there are some subtitles burned into the image for a few of the lines in Russian.

The disc is single-sided, single layer. There is no layer change, which is good, and there's really not enough content here to justify a second layer.

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

Audio

The only soundtrack is English, in Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround encoded, at 224kbps.

The dialogue is reasonably clear, and fairly easy to understand, but there is occasional distortion (for example, at 10:45 and 42:20). The only audio sync errors come from sloppy ADR work, such as when Anthony first meets Ivan, and he is dancing with the girls we hear Ivan's voice continuously, but his mouth isn't moving.

The music is credited to The Red Elvises. There are a couple of songs from other performers, but most of them are performed by this group.

Because this is a 2.0 soundtrack, it makes no use of the subwoofer. Even if you enable ProLogic decoding, there's nothing in the way of surround sound.

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

Extras

Menu

The menu is static, but it has background music. It's simple to operate.

Theatrical Trailer (2:47)

This is the only extra on the menu. It is full of spoilers, so leave it until after you watch the movie.

Trailers

When you put the disc into the DVD player it starts with a Universal logo, then plays that incredibly irritating British anti-piracy ad (the one that claims that piracy funds terrorism and organised crime). After that, there are three trailers before the menu:

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 movie is not yet available on DVD in Region 1. Lucky them.

Summary

A movie that tries to be a comedy, and fails, on a DVD that is not too good.

The video quality is adequate.

The audio quality is adequate.

The extras are rudimentary.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Wednesday, July 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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