Too Smooth (Hairshirt) (Rental) (1998)
Menu Animation & Audio
|Year Of Production||1998|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Dean Paras|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, a short clip at the very end of the credits|
The romantic comedy Hairshirt was renamed Too Smooth for its home-video/DVD release. This immediately set warning bells ringing for me. If you're familiar with Simon Rose's guide to being a movie critic, you would be aware of his 'Rule 10: When a movie changes its name for the video release -- it's for a reason'.
Too Smooth employs one of the standard paint-by-the-numbers plots: A shallow young man seduces and dumps girls, until he meets one that he falls in love with. He feels bad about what he's done, but it's too late, she discovers that she was duped and it's over. Now drowning in regret, the young man struggles to rekindle the relationship and win her back. It has all been done countless times before, and much better. Consider, for example, plot lines from Cruel Intentions, American Pie and countless other movies.
The acting here is competent enough. The shallow young man, Danny, is played by Dean Paras (who also wrote and directed this movie), and his 'victim', Corey, is played by the ultra-cute Katie Wright. Renee Weber (Neve Campbell) is one of Danny's former girlfriends (bearing a grudge) and is a self-obsessed Hollywood starlet. This role suits her well, as I personally find Campbell most annoying. She tries far too hard to be taken seriously as an actress.
Overall, this is a very predicable movie which may be worth looking at once it reaches the 'weekly' section of your local video rental outlet.
This is a low-budget independent movie, and as such, the video quality is reasonable, but very grainy. I imagine the cheaper film stock and general low-budget production contributed to the variable quality of the image. Another problem is the lighting - some of the scenes seem unintentionally dark.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The sharpness of the image is variable, but generally soft. There are also a number of scenes that are slightly out of focus, but I assume that this is in the source material. The black level is good, and the shadow detail acceptable.
The colour is good, and well saturated. There are a number of bright primary colours, such as the bright blue skies of Southern California. Another example of the rich palette of colours is on display at the fruit market at 33:23.
There are a few MPEG artefacts on display. The image is slightly pixelated at times, such as at 31:51. There is also mild posterization on occasion, such as on Corey's face at 30:40. Macro-blocking appears on some of the background walls, such as at 27:04.
I am tempted to say that there is no aliasing at all, but an extremely mild shimmer appears very rarely on a few objects, such as on the side of Tim's spectacles at 50:36.
Film artefacts appear frequently throughout the movie, and early examples can be seen at 3:24 and 6:02. There is also slight edge enhancement visible on occasion, such as the halo around Renee at 34:10.
There are no subtitles on this DVD.
This is a single layer DVD, which is acceptable considering the content and length of the movie.
Apart from the English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, there is also an English Dolby Stereo-Surround track.
The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.
The musical score is credited to Nathan Barr, and it is comprised of a lot of synthesiser-based subtle scoring. There is also a lot of contemporary music used, such as songs by Third Eye Blind and Munkafust.
The surround presence and activity is very subtle. The surround sound mix is quite front-heavy (as one might expect for a romantic comedy), but the rear speakers are used effectively to help carry the score, such as during the falling-in-love montage at 33:06, and to provide ambience, such as during the party at 16:29. There are not a great deal of split rear directional effects, but there are a few, for example the car doors closing at 18:10 and the traffic at 31:40.
The subwoofer is also utilised very subtly to support both the score, for example the drum effect at 78:02, and the sound effects, such as the seriously low rumble from the car stereo at 38:24.
|Surround Channel Use|
Extras are slim.
A very simple menu, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
Theatrical Trailer (2:05)
Another example of 'false advertising', this trailer makes the movie look a lot more interesting and funny than it actually is. It also claims that it is in 'the tradition of Something About Mary' -- except of course that movie was funny. The trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78, non-16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Too Smooth was released on DVD in Region 1 in 2001.
The Region 4 DVD misses out on:
The Region 1 DVD misses out on:
As both versions are fairly similar, we can call it even. Personally, I would favour the local release for its affordability, and its superior PAL image.
Too Smooth is strictly 'weekly' rental-only material.
The video quality is reasonable.
The audio quality is also reasonable.
The only extra is a trailer.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|