Dating the Enemy (1996)

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Released 20-Jun-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Music Video-Right On-OMC
TV Spots-2
Biographies-Cast
Trailer-Malcolm; What's Up, Tiger Lily?
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 100:05 (Case: 97)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Megan Simpson Huberman
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Claudia Karvan
Guy Pearce
Lisa Hensley
Matt Day
Pippa Grandison
John Howard
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music David Hirschfelder


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
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 No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Dating The Enemy is an amusing Romantic Comedy/Fantasy movie that, while not being particularly original, is still a good way to while away an hour and a half. The story follows Tash (Claudia Karvan) and Brett (Guy Pearce) who, despite having almost nothing in common, fall for each other at first sight. Jump to a year later, and things are not as rosy as they should be, and following a particularly nasty argument, Brett and Tash break up. Fate has other things in mind however, as the next time the two wake up, it is to find they have swapped bodies - Tash is inhabiting Brett's buff exterior, and Brett finds himself to be not quite as masculine as he once was. From this point, the two have to work through the body-switch and figure out what it means for them, and what it is that fate is trying to tell them.

    While the premise is quite amusing, Dating The Enemy does tend to rely on it too much, becoming somewhat of a one-joke movie. While there are some nice moments involving the interaction of Brett and Tash, the film does feel a little too long, even at only an hour and forty minutes. The major problem for Dating The Enemy is that its genre has been so well covered that even what is actually a good effort pales into comparison to the many great comedies from the same genre. Still, with an amusing premise, good performances from two very good looking leads, and the patriotic feeling that goes along with watching local product, there are many worse ways to spend an hour and a half.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer presented for Dating The Enemy is of a generally poor quality, exhibiting almost every type of physical artefact that can possibly be captured on disc. The problems are not so severe that the disc becomes unwatchable, but they certainly detract from the enjoyment level.

    Presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, this disc is not 16x9 enhanced. I could not locate any information as to whether the transfer is full frame or pan & scan (and the back cover is no help, listing it as "Full Frame Pan & Scan"). From the composition of the shots, an open matte transfer can be ruled out, which means this is either pan & scan, or originally composed for 1.33:1 - either way given that the majority of the action takes place in the centre of the screen, it would appear to make little difference.

    Sharpness is quite poor, although grain levels remain low during the transfer. There is an omnipresent level of background grain, but it never really becomes obtrusive. For the opening minute or so of the film, there is also a very disturbing "ghosting" that appears almost to be an interlacing artefact, as the people walking by on the street clearly create trails (maybe they're just walking very fast?). Fortunately, this disappears once the real action starts, but it is disturbing none the less. Shadow detail is better, although it still falls short of what could be called "good". The darker scenes generally show enough information to make out the action, but more subtle detail is invisible. There is no low level noise present.

    Colours are quite good for the most part, with the bright colours of the set on which Brett works showing up very nicely. There are a few occasions, predominantly in brightly lit conditions, where the colours become slightly washed out, but these are rare and not distracting.

    There are no compression artefacts in this transfer. Film-to-video artefacts do not fare so well. Telecine wobble is a constant presence throughout the transfer, and while it is most obvious when credits are showing - especially the opening credits - it also becomes apparent at other times, such as when Tash is lying on the couch from 73:44 onwards. Aliasing is also a constant presence, showing up in most scenes. It is not helped by the costume design that continued to dress Rob in striped shirts, such as at 1:52, and 18:58-19:24 that create a frenzy of aliasing. Film artefacts are consistently present throughout the transfer, and while most are small, there are a few, such as at 39:47 and 46:27 that are quite large and very noticeable.

    There are no subtitles on this disc.

    This is a single layered disc, and as such has no layer change.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is a better effort than the video, however it is certainly not going to knock your socks off.

    There is only a single soundtrack on this disc, being the original English Dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo at 224 Kbps.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. There are never any problems in regard to the mixing levels, even during the numerous party scenes.

    Audio sync is generally good, although there are a few occasions where the audio becomes subtly out of sync. By far the worst of the sync problems is from 17:00 to 18:04, where it is quite obvious that the sync is not right.

    The musical accompaniment for Dating The Enemy is a combination of contemporary pop pieces and score from David Hirchfelder. The score has a generally light and slightly jazzy feel and is quite effective, being one of the better romantic comedy scores.

    Being a stereo soundtrack, there is obviously no use of the surround channels. The stereo separation, however, is quite good, and the soundfield is decently wide. For the subject nature of this film, the lack of surround presence is not as large a liability as it might have been.

    As there is no dedicated subwoofer track, it will only get redirected bass, and in this film that is likely to be very little. It essentially stood dormant for the entire film.

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

Extras

    There is only an extremely limited selection of extras presented here, and none are of any real interest.

Menu

    The menu is animated, themed around the movie, is (obviously) not 16x9 enhanced, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio. Irritatingly, the initial intro is quite long (just shy of 20 seconds), and cannot be skipped, forcing you to watch the Umbrella logo every time.

Music Video: Right On - OMC

    Presented at 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this video is of a slightly higher quality than the main feature, and goes a long way to proving why OMC never had another hit after How Bizarre.

Television Commercials

    There are two commercials as follows:     They are both, unsurprisingly, of a fairly low quality. They do, however, feature an Australian-accented voice-over which is not all that common, even for Australian movies. They are presented at 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced) and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Profiles

    These are brief (4 pages for Claudia Karvan and 6 pages for Guy Pearce) biographies for the two leads. Nothing very interesting at all here.

Umbrella Propaganda

    This is just a few static pages advertising other Umbrella product. On the relevant pages, there are trailers for:     Both are of a very low quality. Malcolm is presented in letterboxed 1.85:1 (not 16x9 enhanced), while What's Up Tiger Lily is presented at 1.33:1 (not 16x9 enhanced). Both feature Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

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 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     As far as I can ascertain, this movie is not available outside Australia. As unfortunate as it is, the extremely sub-standard R4 edition we have is the only way this film can be obtained on disc - and I would not expect that to change in the near future (although it may eventually get picked up internationally as Guy Pearce's star rises).

Summary

    Dating The Enemy is a good attempt at an over-exposed genre starring two of the most attractive people working in Australian cinema. Worth seeing, but certainly nothing that will stand out against other efforts from its genre.

    The video quality is quite poor, and is a major distraction from the film itself.

    The audio quality is very good for being a straight stereo mix. Given the genre though, the lack of surround channels does not hurt it too badly.

    The meagre selection of extras present is very disappointing, especially given their generally low quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Monday, July 08, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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