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MAGNOLIA

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
Cast:
Desiree Hall, Samantha Colburn, Eddie Ritchard, Crista Flanagan
Writing Credits:
Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer

Tagline:
The hangover will be the easy part.

Synopsis:
Bride-to-be Claire, her sister Leslie, fun-loving Zoe, and quirky new friend Janet set off to Las Vegas for a one-night bachelorette party that turns out to be more than they bargained for. A series of unexpected adventures rips them from the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas strip and places them smack dab in Vegas seedy underbelly.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 82 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 4/8/2014

Bonus:
• Deleted Scenes
• Interviews
• “AXS TV: A Look at Best Night Ever” Featurette
• Previews and Trailer


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Best Night Ever [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 27, 2014)

Remember when The Hangover became a huge hit in 2009? So do the creators of 2013’s Best Night Ever, a flick that offers a female-based twist on the earlier movie’s concept.

To celebrate Claire’s (Desiree Hall) upcoming wedding, her friends take her on a bachelorette trip to Las Vegas. Organized by her sister Leslie (Samantha Colburn), the group also includes Claire’s BFF Zoe (Eddie Ritchard) and wild new pal Janet (Crista Flanagan). Zoe brings a video camera so she can document every moment of the trek; these recordings become our view of the action.

The trip leads to more excitement than anyone expected. Uptight Leslie tries to choreograph a staid weekend of fine dining and Celine Dion, but matters get wild before too long. We follow the antics and obstacles that pop up along the way.

Though I alluded to Hangover at the start, Ever owes an equal debt to another recent hit: 2011’s Bridesmaids. Without its extension of the “R”-rated comedy into female-oriented territory, I don’t believe Ever wouldn exist.

I feel more sure of that given the “talent” behind Ever, as Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer wrote/directed the flick. Those guys made their names via a series of spoof films such as Epic Movie and Date Movie.

A series of really awful spoof films, to be exact. Honestly, if I’d noticed up front that those two created Ever, I probably wouldn’t have bothered; I’ve never seen them produce anything even vaguely humorous and had no reason to believe Ever would change that losing streak.

Though at least Ever doesn’t offer another direct parody ala the earlier Friedberg/Seltzer films. Sure, it shows a heavy influence from Hangover and Bridesmaids - and by “heavy influence”, I mean “it rips them off” – but it doesn’t spoof those films. We’re intended to view Ever as another in the long line of “one crazy night” tales, one that goes with a “found footage” viewpoint.

I wasn’t wild about Hangover, but it looks like a comedy classic compared to this stinker. While Ever lacks the mind-bending awfulness of the Friedberg/Seltzer parodies, that doesn’t mean it delivers any actual amusement. It takes the basics of its influences and plops them in front of us without a hint of creativity or humor. It doesn’t know how to do anything clever with the situations, so it just hurls them at us and hopes we’ll react in a positive way.

We won’t – or at least I didn’t. There’s no real narrative thrust at work here, as unlike Hangover, the film lacks any form of tale to be told. Ever simply exists as a long reel of shenanigans without any clear character or plot elements to focus them.

It also fails to present actors to can add to or redeem the material. The leads are all lovely women and they don’t do poorly in their parts, but they can’t bring any life to them. Every once in a while, Flanagan threatens to convey some personality, but she’s no Melissa McCarthy, so she doesn’t make much of her scenes.

Not that I’d expect McCarthy or anyone else to fix the broken vehicle that is Best Night Ever. With actual talent behind the camera, it could’ve become a watchable ripoff of The Hangover, but as it stands, it gives us a slow, tedious collection of bad comedy.

Footnote: an additional segment shows up after the conclusion of the end credits.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C+/ Bonus D+

Best Night Ever appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a good presentation.

Sharpness looked fine. Only a smidgen of softness affected the occasional shot, so the majority of the flick came across as accurate and well-defined. No issues with shimmering or jagged edges materialized, and I saw no haloes. Print flaws remained absent as well.

Given the movie’s Vegas setting, colors tended to be bold. The movie went with a bright palette that seemed lively and well-rendered here. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows looked smooth and clear. No obvious problems manifested themselves here.

While not a bad piece, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack worked less well. The soundscape became the main problem, mostly due to the use of music. The movie featured a lot of score and songs, and these tended to overwhelm the dialogue. This wasn’t a tremendous problem, but it made the lines tougher to hear than I’d prefer.

The soundfield didn’t have much ambition otherwise. Again, music dominated, and we didn’t get much material in terms of effects. Occasional elements like cars and clubs added some movement, but these remained minor. This was an unexceptional soundfield.

Audio quality was fine. Again, music seemed too prominent in the mix, but those components came across as full and dynamic. Effects were clear and accurate, while dialogue seemed natural and concise. The track needed better balance but it wasn’t a bad mix.

Among the set’s extras, we find three Deleted Scenes. These fill a total of seven minutes, 13 seconds and show us more of the drive to Las Vegas, a longer version of the bachelor party the women crash, and their departure from Vegas. None of them bring anything of interest to the table.

Under Interviews, we get eight minutes, 30 seconds of information. These segments include actors Desiree Hall, Samantha Colburn and Christa Flanagan. We hear about character and performances as well as aspects of the shoot. The remarks tend toward fluffy promotion.

AXS TV: A Look at Best Night Ever goes for two minutes, 54 seconds and provides a brief overview of the production. It’s a puff piece that exists to sell the movie, so don’t expect anything from it.

The disc opens with ads for Journey to the West, Alan Partridge, Big Bad Wolves and The Last Days on Mars. We also find the trailer for Ever.

A limp rehash of other movies, Best Night Ever flops. It lacks humor and fails to amuse or entertain. The Blu-ray brings us very good picture along with erratic audio and a minor set of supplements. I can’t recommend this poor attempt at comedy.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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