Head Over Heels (2001)

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Released 6-Nov-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Spotlight On Location
Theatrical Trailer
Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
DVD-ROM Extras
Notes-DVD Newsletter
Main Menu Introduction
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 82:43
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (47:09) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mark Water
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Monica Potter
Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Sarah O'Hare
Shalom Harlow
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $36.95 Music Randy Edelman
Steve Porcaro


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Hebrew
Greek
Danish
Finnish
Swedish
Norwegian
German
Dutch
Czech
Polish
Turkish
Hungarian
Bulgarian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    What would happen if, in a parallel universe somewhere, Alfred Hitchcock had actually produced a romantic comedy? Would it be anything like Head Over Heels? Heaven forbid!

    This is nominally a romantic comedy, except it has a thriller sub-plot that looks like it was based on Rear Window. Amanda Pierce (Monica Potter) is yet another small town girl trying to make it big in New York City, and in the meantime hopefully finding the man of her dreams. So far she hasn't been exactly lucky - her high school sweetheart turned out to be gay, and she has just caught her current boyfriend making love to a lingerie model on her bed. On top of that, her co-worker (China Chow) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (where she restores faded Renaissance paintings) is lesbian and trying to encourage her to give up on men.

    Amanda moves into a new apartment shared by four up-and-coming supermodels: Jewish princess Jade (Shalom Harlow), Russian goddess Roxana (Ivana Milicevic), Australian dizzy blonde Candi (Sarah O'Hare) and Black beauty-with-brains Holly (Tomiko Fraser). Why she would do this (since she has nothing in common with the world of fashion modelling) is beyond me but it allows us to see the exotic world of supermodels from Amanda's "fish out of water" perspective. The models live out a life that is pure fantasy: a closet full of haute couture that's bigger than a bedroom, handsome young men queuing up outside the apartment and in bars dying for a chance to date one of the models, lots of girly camaraderie and clothes swapping.

    Amanda accidentally bumps into Jim Winston (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and his very very frisky dog Hamlet. He seems like a really nice guy, and she is starting to fall for him. She and her roommates soon realise that their apartment overlooks his, and they start perving on him incessantly, until one day Amanda catches him apparently murdering a woman in his apartment. So, does that mean he is a (cue discordant chord) psycho killer?

    The rest of the film is about how Amanda and her supermodel roommates spy on poor Jim to try and determine if he really did murder someone or whether it was all a misunderstanding. In the meantime, despite everything, Amanda is still falling in love with Jim who, apart from being a suspected murderer, appears to be the nicest guy alive.

    This would have been an okay film if the filmmakers didn't try to combine too many genres - sophisticated comedy, romantic comedy, spoof, murder thriller, together with good old toilet humour (and I mean this literally!). It ended up being rather painful to watch and I didn't know whether to laugh or to scream. I ended up screaming.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Quite surprisingly, we are treated to a "scope" aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with 16x9 enhancement. Incidentally, IMDb lists the original aspect ratio as "1.85:1" but I suspect that is incorrect.

    Apart from a few minor issues, this is a gorgeous transfer with lots of detail and eye-popping bright, saturated colours. Both interior and exterior scenes are well presented and black levels are consistently good, as is to be expected for such a recent film.

    There are no significant film marks of any sort to comment on. The film print is completely devoid of grain. The only artefacts I spotted were slight haloing around the opening titles and occasional aliasing, such as around 43:47-43:50. The rather short length of the film (82:43) means the DVD authors can afford to use consistently high transfer rates for the video, and the results speak for themselves.

    There are a number of subtitle tracks accompanying the film. I turned on the English subtitle track briefly to verify its presence.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs between scenes at 47:09 and is slightly annoying due to fairly long pause (almost a second) that it took my DVD player to lock on to the next layer.

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

Audio

    There are two audio tracks on this disc: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s), and German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kb/s) . I listened to the English audio track.

    Despite the Dolby Digital 5.1 encoding, this is a very front-focused audio track and I never detected more than occasional ambience coming from the rear speakers. Also the subwoofer switched off towards the end of the film, which is a sure sign that the subwoofer track is not very active.

    Apart from music (the original music score is by Randy Edelman and Steve Porcaro), which is about as wildly varied as the plot (ranging from the sort of background music you find in a teen comedy to sickly sweet orchestral music), this is a very dialogue focused film.

    The soundtrack itself is pleasant enough, with no obvious flaws. I found some of the dialogue a little hard to follow mainly because the actors/actresses were mumbling their lines or speaking too fast, but apart from that there are no dialogue or audio synchronisation issues.

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

Extras

    This DVD contains a smattering of extras, not enough to qualify as a "special edition" but more than enough to brighten up the "bonus features" section of the menu.

Menu

    The main menu is animated (with background audio) and 16x9 enhanced, but appears somewhat blurry. However, the other menus, including scene selections, are static.

Featurette - Spotlight On Location (11:02)

    This is a brief making of featurette combining behind the scenes footage, film excerpts and cast and crew interviews. It is presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0. The film excerpts are presented in 2.35:1 letterboxed.

    Interviews include:

Theatrical Trailer (2:09)

    This is presented in widescreen letterboxed (1.85:1) without 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.

Production Notes

    This is a set of stills that abbreviates the production notes available on the official film web site.

Biographies - Cast & Crew

    This is a still summarising the cast and crew, and in addition links in to sub-menus providing biographies and filmographies for:

DVD-ROM Extras

    As far as I can tell this contains the installation files for the InterActual DVD player plus a number of web pages with links to Universal web sites and the official web site of the movie.

Notes-DVD Newsletter

    This is a single still advertising the Universal E-Newsletter.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

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;

    I would nominate the Region 1 release as nominally the winner due to the presence of the dts audio track, though given the lightweight nature of the audio track I'm not sure how much of a bonus it really is.

Summary

    Head Over Heels is a romantic comedy that tries to be different and I'm not sure it succeeds in breaking new ground. If you like perving at supermodels, you will enjoy this. The video transfer is excellent and the audio transfer is flawless but unexciting. The extras are reasonable but are nothing special.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Monday, December 03, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT 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 amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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