Boys on the Side (1995) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 30-Sep-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 116:49
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Herbert Ross

Warner Home Video
Starring Whoopi Goldberg
Mary-Louise Parker
Drew Barrymore
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music David Newman

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, end credits over flashbacks

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

Plot Synopsis

    Boys On The Side is partly a road trip, partly a female bonding movie, and partly a movie about unrequited love. Think of it as Fried Green Tomatoes meets Thelma and Louise and you are not too far off.

    Jane Deluca (Whoopi Goldberg) is a somewhat jaded night club singer considering moving from New York City to Los Angeles. She notices an newspaper classified ad seeking a travel companion and decides to respond. The ad turns out to be placed by Robin (Mary-Louise Parker), an ex real estate agent looking to drive all the way to San Diego, and hoping she can share the driving chore with someone.

    Jane's initial reaction is not to accept, because Robin is the complete opposite of Jane in just about every way. Robin is white, shy, middle class, listens to The Carpenters and still cries whilst watching The Way We Were. Jane is black, sassy, bohemian, sneers at The Carpenters and doesn't appreciate The Way We Were. Oh yes, and Jane is a lesbian, and already developing a subconscious attraction to Robin, who, Jane suspects, is very very straight.

    However, when Jane's car is impounded for a parking violation, she decides she has no choice but to accept Robin's offer. On the way, they stop at Pittsburgh to pick up a friend of Jane's called Holly (Drew Barrymore). They arrive just in time to witness a domestic dispute between Holly and her drug-dealing boyfriend, Nick (Billy Wirth). Robin exercises her negotiation skills, but things go bad when Holly knocks her boyfriend unconscious with a baseball bat. He manages to recover, and the trio tie him to a chair.

    The trio continue on their road trip until one day they discover that Nick has died from the knock on his head, and the police are investigating the death. Should Holly go back and confess everything, or should they pretend nothing has happened? After much debate, they decide to drive on.

    Soon they reach Tucson, Arizona, where Robin's secret is revealed, which necessitates them remaining in Tucson. Even then, things go well for a while until Holly's past catches up with her.

    The film has funny as well as tragic moments. Much is made of the relationship between Jane and Robin which borders between platonic and romantic. Along the way, we get to learn some home truths about love and friendship. I found this film easy to watch, and the casting of the three main characters is just about perfect.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    This is a dual sided, single layered, disc containing a widescreen 2.35:1 16x9 Enhanced transfer on one side, and a full frame 1.33:1 transfer on the other. And yes, given that this is a Warner Home Video disc, this is another Region 1 NTSC transfer warmed up for re-release in Region 4. If your system does not include the ability to display NTSC, you won't be able to play this disc.

    The film source is a bit grainy, and has a few marks and scratches here and there, but is watchable. Detail levels are about average. The overall look of the transfer is a bit dark and colours are slightly muted.

    MPEG compression artefacts I noted include Gibb's effect ringing, as well as some haloing from edge enhancement.

    The full frame version appears to be mostly taken from the open matte version of the 35mm print, but occasionally blown up with sides chopped off. In terms of aspect ratio, this is not too bad as I did not notice any significant issues with overcropping.

    There are English and French subtitle tracks present, and I turned on the English subtitle track briefly to verify its presence. The accuracy of the subtitle track is reasonable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are two audio tracks present: English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192kb/s), French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192kb/s).

    I did not have any difficulties understanding the dialogue, even though there are a few whispered lines in the film. I also did not notice any issues with audio synchronization.

    The quality of the audio track is slightly above average given the age of the film. The rear channels are primarily used for background music ambience, and the film is very dialogue-focused so I did not notice any instances of foley effects directed to the surrounds.

    The background music appear to be mainly excerpts from various pop songs around the era of the film's production.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras on this disc.


    The menu is static but 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

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

    As this is another Warner Region 1 NTSC edition re-released for Region 4, the content for both releases are identical (including FBI copyright messages).


    Boys On The Side is basically Fried Green Tomatoes meets Thelma And Louise, enhanced by a great cast and some witty dialogue.

    The video transfer is in NTSC and the disc includes widescreen and full frame versions. The video transfer quality is mediocre.

    The audio transfer is acceptable.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Sunday, October 27, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-A1, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

Other Reviews
MovieHole - Clint M
DVD Net - Adrian T
AllZone4DVD - Magalie S
DVDownUnder - Cassandra N

Comments (Add)
Worrying trend - CatonaPC© (read my bio)
RE Worrying trend - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
re: Worrying trend - Roger (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
re: Worrying trend - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)