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Cast & Crew Biographies
|Running Time||78:31 Minutes|
Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
|Case||Transparent Soft Brackley|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Subtitles||English||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Willard Fillmore (Norm Macdonald) is a chauffeur for Miss Crock (Elaine Stritch), a mean woman who runs a pastry company and basically treats him like garbage. A friend who works in a diner, Rusty Hayes (David Chappelle) advises him that he should quit and look for greener pastures, but Willard relates the story of how his father told him to keep working for Crock and he will get ahead. Given that Willard's father said this on his death bed, it is quite possible that the man was delusional at the time, since Crock even decides to give Willard a pair of crappy cuff-links and a pie for Christmas in preference to a new uniform. After spending the rest of the day and part of the night in the doghouse (literally), Willard overhears a conversation between Miss Crock and Chip Oswald (Sherman Hemsley) in which Chip makes the astounding statement that Willard is exploiting Crock's generosity and should be fired. Naturally, Crock agrees, and Willard wanders into Rusty's restaurant, feeling quite miffed at the prospect of being fired on Christmas Day.
Together, the two of them come up with the idea of kidnapping Miss Crock's beloved dog, Muffin, which they proceed to do as quickly as they can. After a ridiculous sequence in which they proceed to take Muffin and destroy several of Miss Crock's rooms, they drive away with Muffin in the back of their van. Unfortunately, Muffin gets away and returns to his spot by Crock's side, with the ransom note still lying on a desk in a blood-spattered lobby. Crock believes the ransom note, which elegantly states "pay us one million dollars or he's a dead dog", is referring to Willard, and so begins the investigation of Detective Tom Dewey (Daniel Benzali).
Willard and Rusty decide that they'll just up the ransom to five million dollars and play along with the unfolding scenario, but Crock decides that she will not pay the exorbitant ransom. So, Willard and Rusty record footage of Willard in a dog cage, sending it via the Internet to the news outlets, prompting the citizenry, Willard's friend Hillary (Sarah Silverman) among them, to picket the Crock pie factory. The media pressure starts to affect sales of Crock pies, so Miss Crock does a backflip and states that she will pay the ransom, after all. Willard goes to Hillary and tells her the truth about what is happening, so she refers him to morgue attendant Grover Cleaver (Danny DeVito), whom he goes to with Rusty for help in fooling the authorities into thinking he is dead.
Obviously, it is not the greatest story ever told, but it does have a solid cast and a tight pace, which leads me to recommend it for at least one viewing. It is more entertaining than the 4.9 out of ten rating from four hundred and four IMDB users would have you believe, but only marginally so. Still, if you're a big fan of Danny DeVito, then this may be worthy of a spot on your shelves.
The transfer is razor-sharp at all times, so much so that it makes a great transfer with which to demonstrate all the virtues of the format. The shadow detail is nearly, but not quite, excellent, with plenty of subtle detail in the darker portions of the picture. There was no low-level noise.
The colours are brightly saturated, almost unnaturally so at times, giving the film a somewhat surreal or cartoon look a lot of the time. There were no problems with bleeding, misregistration, or composite artefacts.
MPEG artefacts were not a problem in this transfer, thanks in part to the rather short length of the film. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some aliasing that was mostly minor, except for a real whopper on some dishes at 48:35 that only lasted for about second. Film artefacts consisted of some minor marks on the picture that were nearly unnoticeable at the best of times.
The music in this film is credited to Michel Colombier, with the use of the Hawaii Five-O theme at one point for good measure. Although it is not a really inspiring effort, it does manage to inject the appropriate tension during the action sequences, which is more than what I can say for a lot of other efforts I have heard recently.
The surround channels were utilized to support the music and directional effects such as passing cars and sirens. The sound field was often very frontal in nature, but it was very effective when the action sequences took place. The subwoofer was used aggressively to support the music, car crashes, and gunshots, which it did without calling attention to itself.
The video transfer is excellent.
The audio transfer is very good.
The extras are limited.
© Dean McIntosh (my
bio sucks... read it anyway)
April 20, 2001
|DVD||Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm) in 16:9 and 4:3 modes, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Amplification||Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NS-C120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|