Barely Legal (After School Special) (2003)

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Released 21-Mar-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Dolby Digital Trailer
Additional Footage-Extended Scenes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 87:45 (Case: 93)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By David M. Evans
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Erik von Detten
Tony Denman
Daniel Farber
Sarah-Jane Potts
Amy Smart
Tom Arnold
Dey Young
Riley Smith
Vince Vieluf
Samm Levine
Cameron Richardson
Horatio Sanz
Anders Hedman
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Ryeland Allison
Andrew Gross
Gil Talmi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Arabic
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    As a general rule, comedies with multiple titles are usually stinkers, and this is no exception. National Lampoon's Barely Legal (AKA After School Special) is weak comedy, derivative of classics such as Porkys, Revenge of the Nerds, and Risky Business but without the style, and definitely without the laughs.

    In this comedy, Fred (Tony Denman), Deacon (Erik von Detten) and Matt (Daniel Farber) are three high school lads who, like most teenage boys, love watching pornography. Fortunately for them, Deacon has a part time job at a video rental shop with a large selection of adult movies. Deacon has been sneaking porn titles out of the shop, much to the delight of his two mates. Apart from watching the movies, the lads have also been duplicating and selling copies of them to other teenage boys at their school.

    Sadly, when Deacon loses his job, the boys lose their supply of adult entertainment. So after moping around for a while, armed with a positive attitude the boys decide to make an adult video themselves. It will be a porn video "made by virgin boys, for virgin boys".

    Of course the boys will need a star, so they head (in disguise) to the local strip club, where they recruit the gorgeous and sweet exotic dancer, Ashley (Sarah Jane Potts). Filled with youthful enthusiasm, Ashley puts up with the boy's amateur antics, and even her lame (literally) co-star, school bully Jake (Riley Smith).

    With the project publicised on the Internet, their success is assured, but not everyone is happy with the boys. Enter the movie's villain, Vic Ramalot (Horatio Sanz). Ramalot is a parody of "the Clown Prince of Porn", Ron Jeremy. Ramalot is concerned with his waning sales, and doesn't need the extra competition from the lads. This leads to a farcical hunt by Ramalot and his goons to find the boys and end their production.

    Meanwhile, the production is troubled when Deacon's new girlfriend, Naomi (Amy Smart), pulls a Yoko Ono act and starts to stick her nose into the production. Soon the boys are bickering, their star is about to walk off and the lads have pre-sold 50,000 copies of a video that doesn't exist (yet).

    Unfortunately, despite the reasonable premise for a good teen sex comedy in the spirit of American Pie, or even classics such as Porkys, Revenge of the Nerds and Risky Business, Barely Legal is not that funny, and definitely not that clever. Furthermore, there is very little skin on display, with only fleeting glimpses of the beautiful Sarah Jane Potts. Indeed, Director David Mickey Evans seems completely unconcerned by the weak and at times illogical script by David H. Steinberg.

    The acting from the three leads is decent enough, and there are also some good performances from supporting actors Tom Arnold as Deacon's father and Road Trip's Amy Smart, who both at times seem to be wondering what they're doing in this stinker.

    For those interested, the film's trailer can be viewed here. I assume the title for this film was changed from After School Special to Barely Legal as a reference to Larry Flynt's very popular series of  X-Rated DVDs, Hustler's Barely Legal (www.barelylegal.com). I also understand that it was only on the film's second attempted theatrical release that "National Lampoon's" was added to the title.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is generally good, but it does appear a little grainy during darker scenes.

    The transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 Enhanced.

    The sharpness is good, as can be seen with the detailed pattern of Ramalot's striped shirt at 26:26. The black level and shadow detail are also good, as can be seen with the dark interior of the bedroom at 13:48.

    The colour is good throughout, and skin tones are accurate.

    There are no problems with MPEG or film-to-video artefacts. A few tiny film artefacts appeared throughout, but they were not distracting.

    English, English for the Hearing Impaired, French, and Arabic subtitles are provided, and the English subtitles are accurate.

    This is a single layered disc, which is acceptable considering that the DVD is relatively low on content.

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

Audio

    The audio at times sounds a little flat, and almost mono, but it is reasonable for a dialogue-based comedy.

    There are two audio options on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), and French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

    The musical score is credited to Ryeland Allison, Andrew Gross, and Gil Talmi and it is a traditional orchestral score with a number of songs, especially hip hop tunes, peppered throughout.

    As a dialogue-based comedy, I wasn't expecting a great deal of surround presence and activity. The rears are used occasionally, but mainly to support the score. However, they do provide some ambience at times, for example in the strip club at 20:28 and the fairground at 24:34.

    The subwoofer is not really called upon during the film, but does lend a hand occasionally with the deep bass of the hip hop music.

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

Extras

    The extras are limited.

Menu

    A very simple menu.

Additional Footage-Extended Scenes

    There are three extended scenes which are a little more 'fleshed out' than those appearing in the film. They are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital Stereo audio.

R4 vs R1

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

    Barely Legal has been released on DVD in Region 1.

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

    I would call it pretty even, although consider the local version's affordability, and most importantly its superior PAL image.

Summary

    A disappointing, weak comedy.

    The video quality is good overall.

    The audio quality is acceptable.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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