Marci X (2003)

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Released 4-Aug-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 80:39
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Benjamin
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Lisa Kudrow
Damon Wayans
Richard Benjamin
Jane Krakowski
Christine Baranski
Paula Garcιs
Charles Kimbrough
Veanne Cox
Sherie Rene Scott
Gano Grills
Nashawn Kearse
Myron Primes
Billy Griffith
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Marc Shaiman
Mervyn Warren


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
Arabic
Bulgarian
Danish
Greek
Finnish
Croatian
Icelandic
Hebrew
Dutch
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Slovenian
Serbian
Swedish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes, not limited to tobacco
Annoying Product Placement Yes, WB TV station
Action In or After Credits Yes, epilogue

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

Plot Synopsis

    Remember a little film called Crocodile Dundee? It was a delightful little story showing a high-powered American reporter a little out of her depth in Kakadu, followed by a naive Australian outback man bewildered (but battling on) in New York, especially New York high society — a classic fish-out-of-water story, told with great charm and gentle wit.

    Marci X is a fish-out-of-water story too, although neither as charming nor as gently witty (the laughs in this film lack subtlety).

    Marci Feld (Lisa Kudrow) is a well-meaning Jewish American Princess. We first see her at foundation dinner, giving a humanitarian award to her father, Ben Feld (Richard Benjamin). The presentation is interrupted by bad news: Feldco is being boycotted by a bunch of loud self-proclaimed moralists, led by Senator Mary Ellen Spinkle (Christine Baranski) — all because Feldco happens to own a record label called Felonious Assault that has just released a new album by Dr S (Damon Wayans). Dr S is a successful rapper, of the "I'm such a bad-ass" kind, whose new single is called The Power in My Pants. The news of the boycott triggers a heart attack in Ben Feld, and his doctor isolates him for two weeks. He tells Marci that he wishes that he has a son to set things straight (classic chauvinism). Marci decides that she'll take control and sort it out. After all, she's spent her life raising money for charity — that qualifies her to meddle in politics, PR, and the rap-music business, doesn't it?

    The two worlds in collision are New York high society, as represented by Marci and her three close friends, Lauren (Jane Krakowski), Caitlin (Veanne Cox), and Kirsten (Sherie Rene Scott), and Harlem, as represented by Dr S and his cronies — they may have come from the streets, but given the money they've made, they seem a touch isolated from those roots. At first, it seems that this film is just sending up high society (and being patronising), but that's not the case: it's trying to send up pretty much everyone, including right-wing moralists, boy bands, and the gangsta rap-music scene.

    There are some big laughs, perhaps the biggest relating to Dr S's rearrangement of a song for a boy band, Boyz R Us (best send-up of a boy band since Dujour in Josie and the Pussycats). Unfortunately, these big laughs are separated by some deeply cringe-worthy parts — the interpretative dance number about the Kenyan princess can make you ashamed to be white (to make up for that, there are pieces that can make you ashamed to be black or latino, too).

    Lisa Kudrow gives us another dizzy blonde performance; she was probably cast for it, so we can't blame her. Christine Baranski does a really good job of the uptight senator (reminiscent of her role in Cybill). Damon Wayans is a weak link (I wonder if he was deliberately cast for that?), but he doesn't get a heap of help from the script — for someone who is supposed to be a bad-ass rapper, he comes across as soft and almost effeminate off-stage. The supporting cast, particularly Marci's friends, are quite good (listening closely to the things they say can be rewarding at times).

    I can't really recommend this film for watching when your critical faculties are at their peak — you just won't enjoy it. But late at night, after watching a couple of good films, when you're tired and perhaps a bit befuddled, maybe, just maybe.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. As far as I can tell, this was shot using spherical lenses, with an intended aspect ratio of 1.85:1, so this is close — there are no obvious framing issues.

    The image is sharp and clear, as you'd hope for a film made so recently. Shadow detail is quite reasonable. Film gain is no problem, and neither is low-level noise.

    Colour is well-rendered, even with the wide variety of lighting. There are no obvious colour-related artefacts except on the television screens shown.

    There is a sprinkling of film artefacts, which is really disappointing for a current film.

    There's some light aliasing, and occasional moirι (mostly on fabrics). There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are subtitles in 17 languages, including English, plus English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched the English subtitles — they are well-timed, fairly accurate, and easy to read.

    The disc is single-sided and single-layered. That means no layer change.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in English, nothing else. The English soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps.

    The dialogue is clear, even if some of the language is extreme. There are no audio sync problems.

    The score is credited to Mervyn Warren. There are several new songs in this soundtrack credited to Marc Shaiman and Mervyn Warren. Some of them are disturbing: the Power in My Purse rap is just scary!

    The surrounds are used every so often for directional sound, but if you don't have them, you're not missing much. The subwoofer gets plenty of use, mostly supporting the lowest register of the score — there's plenty of bass in this soundtrack, which is no surprise given the hip-hop and rap orientation.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static and silent. There's very little on it, because there are no extras at all.

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 DVD has the movie in both wide-screen and full-screen versions, which is one more version than the Region 4 (gee — a bad movie mauled by being chopped down to pan-and-scan...). It has a trailer or two, which is more in the way of extras than this disc, but nothing of any import. Reviews have it that the transfer on the Region 1 disc is very good, just like the Region 4.

    By my assessment, the full-screen version and trailers amount to no worthwhile difference between the two, so you could happily get either version. But then, attack-of-sanity time — why would you? This is a disc that's probably a rental at best.

Summary

    A movie that's mostly painful to watch, on a bare-bones disc with quite a good transfer.

    The video quality is quite good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, August 12, 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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