Riding in Cars with Boys: Collector's Edition (2001)

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Released 11-Jun-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Audio Commentary-Drew Barrymore
Featurette-Drew's Trailer Tour
Featurette-Bev & Ray's House: Recreating Reality
Featurette-The Cars
Featurette-Beverly and Jason: Sons and Lovers
Featurette-HBO Making-Of Special
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-A League Of Their Own; Hanging Up; Stepmom
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 125:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (79:41) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Penny Marshall
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Drew Barrymore
Steve Zahn
Brittany Murphy
Adam Garcia
Lorraine Bracco
James Woods
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Hans Zimmer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
Hindi
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    My wife is a big fan of Drew Barrymore, hence the reason I am reviewing this title as I must admit that it didn't really appeal to me. I think the reason why she relates well to Drew is that they are both of the same age and she has watched Drew grow up in parallel with her. I sure hope it's not for the history of alcohol and drugs... What the heck has this got to do with a review of a film with a really strange title? Well, I'll get to that in a second.

    Riding In Cars With Boys is based on a true story from the memoirs of the title character, Beverly D'Onofrio (played by Drew Barrymore). It tells of one woman's struggle to fulfil her dream despite the hurdles that the great running track of life seems to always throw up in front of us. It is told as a flashback with a mature, 36 year old Beverly trying to get her memoirs published in 1985 with the help of her son Jason (Adam Garcia). The story follows Beverly through some twenty five years, starting at age 10, when boy-crazy Bev asks her dad (James Woods) for a bra for Christmas. Zip forward five years when Bev, now 15 and very much on the prowl for a boyfriend, meets deadbeat Ray Hasek (Steve Zahn) at a party. Ray's none too bright, but is at least aware of his limitations. Somehow, after the obligatory ride in Ray's car (the title - get it), Bev finds herself pregnant. I say somehow, since we are not treated to the actual act. It just happens. Bev has a good friend in Fay (the lovely Brittany Murphy), who also manages to get pregnant at the same time, and together they go through the shame of a 60s teen pregnancy and the child-rearing experience.

    The story progresses over the next few years, and it becomes obvious that motherhood does not sit too well with Bev, and Ray is still a deadbeat who also has a drug problem. Bev seems unlikely to ever be able to go to college or become a successful writer as she is trapped in the marriage that she didn't want, with little money, a loser of a husband and having to care for the son that she also didn't want. Bev blames her son for many of her problems, and he in turn is becoming frustrated that she doesn't really seem to be behaving like a real mother. My biggest problem with this film is the believability of Drew Barrymore in the starring role. She has always had that little-girl charm and as such can easily play a 15, 16 or even 22 year old. It's when she is expected to be 36 that credibility is stretched and I for one had trouble thinking of her in this age group. It just didn't appear to work.

    My wife still enjoyed it, so I guess as a film for the girls, this is pretty much a winner.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This release has been afforded the usual extremely high standard of transfer from Columbia Tristar. We are presented with a transfer in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced and not a great deal to complain about.

    This is a nicely detailed and sharp image overall, with deep solid blacks and some really nice shadow detail. There is some grain present throughout, mostly minor and certainly not disruptive. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are also excellent throughout, with perfect skin tones and deep solid blacks. The colours of each era (60s, 70s, and 80s) are also captured perfectly. There are no apparent problems with oversaturation or colour bleeding.

    I noticed no MPEG artefacts. There was no aliasing or any other film-to-video type of artefact of any real note. Film artefacts were also almost non-existent, so the source must have been a very clean print indeed.

    Only three subtitle options are available. These are a standard English set, English for the Hearing Impaired, and strangely Hindi. The former two are quite good, with the Hearing Impaired option particularly well done. As for the Hindi, well I've got no idea.

    This is a dual layered disc, with the layer change placed at 79:41. Pretty good placement, too.

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

Audio

    There are only two soundtracks available on this disc, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track and an English commentary track in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. I naturally enough listened to both tracks in total.

    Dialogue is excellent. There's plenty of it and it's always clear and well presented in the overall soundtrack. There are no audio sync problems.

    The very well-known Hans Zimmer provided the score for this one, and though not what I would call one of his more notable works, it does the job. Many of the sourced songs place you immediately in the era with the likes of The Everly Brothers, The Chiffons, Sonny & Cher, Billy Idol, and Cyndi Lauper represented.

    There is little surround channel use, but this is not unexpected given the nature of this drama. Likewise the subwoofer sees little action other than to support the many and varied songs throughout.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Dolby Digital Trailer - City

Audio Commentary

    A screen specific commentary from Drew Barrymore which is quite entertaining, though it does tend to focus on her own experiences with the film and becomes a little self-centred at times when she discusses her own motivations for playing the character. She nonetheless has an engaging style and is highly articulate. Worth a listen if you're a Drew Barrymore fan.

Featurette - Drew's Trailer Tour

    Running for 4:32 and presented full screen with images from the film presented in 1.85:1 with no 16x9 enhancement. This is basically a brief interview segment with Drew Barrymore that takes place in her trailer (hence the title). Here she discusses the film, and how she went about becoming the character of Beverly. Quite interesting even though it is brief.

Featurette - Bev and Ray's House

    From a film-making perspective, this is quite interesting. Only running for 3:34 minutes, it nonetheless gives an excellent insight into how a production crew might tackle the problem of filming in a relatively small space. This featurette shows Bev and Ray's tiny run-down house that was specially built for the film. Each room can actually slide out to allow extra space for the filming gear. A behind-the-scenes glimpse that is not often seen.

Featurette - The Cars

    With the film spanning three decades, there was obviously a need for many different cars. This featurette shows an informal stroll around the lot by actor James Woods and an unidentified crewperson, as they examine some of the cars from the 60s, 70s, and 80s that were used. Fun and informative. Total running time is 3:13 minutes.

Featurette - Beverly and Jason: Sons and Lovers

    Running for 5:46 minutes, this is a small story on the real Beverly D'Onofrio and includes interviews with her and her son Jason (played by Adam Garcia in the film).

Featurette - HBO Making Of

    The biggest of the extras, this one runs for 22:03 minutes and is pretty much your stock-standard making-of piece. There is a lot of material in this one that is repeated in the smaller featurettes.

Theatrical Trailer

    The trailer portrays this film as a much lighter comedy than it really is. Running for 2:20 minutes and nicely presented in a 1.85:1 aspect complete with 16x9 enhancement and full Dolby Digital 5.1. It is in very good condition being pretty much on par with the film. Doesn't tell the whole story which is good, but is also a little misleading in the type of story that this is, which is bad.

Trailer

    Bonus trailers for A League Of Their Own (also directed by Penny Marshall), Hanging Up, and Stepmom. A variety of video qualities on offer with varying aspect ratios, some 16x9 enhanced, some not, and some with full Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks.

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

    Selected filmographies only for Director Penny Marshall and the major cast members. Very basic and brief.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 disc misses out on;

    Unless you have a dying need for the French soundtrack, this is pretty much an even deal, though I have read a couple of Region 1 reviews that point to more dominant grain and some annoying edge enhancement, so I'll favour the local disc for superior PAL image and lower price on this occasion.

Summary

    I actually thought Riding In Cars With Boys was a comedy when I first saw the poster in the cinema, but it isn't. There are certainly some comedic moments (such as Bev throwing herself down the stairs), but this is designed to be a drama. It doesn't quite pull this off as it paints Drew Barrymore's Beverly as a little too sweet for my liking. I had the impression from the featurettes that the real Bev was a little nastier and the screenwriters and director have sugar-coated things a little too much to make her more appealing and likeable.

    The video is up to the usual Columbia Tristar standard. It is very good.

    The audio is adequate for what is pretty much a front-focused soundtrack.

    The extras are plentiful and some of the smaller featurettes are actually quite novel, unique, and interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, May 07, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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Comments (Add)
Riding in cars with boys - Geoff