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K. Asher Levin
Sarah Hyland, Denise Richards, James Belushi, Kyle Gallner, Kathryn Morris
Writing Credits:
K. Asher Levin

It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your mother is?

Sam has been kicked out of every school across the country. When he learns that his mother can no longer afford to keep him in school, he and his friends start their own escort service, Cougars, Inc., to help pay for his tuition. Through this hilarious new job, Sam and his friends explore the generation of "Cougars" who are desperately trying to stay young, and love every lesson they are taught.

Box Office:
$1 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 82 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 5/10/2011

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director K. Asher Levin and Actors Kyle Gallner and Kathryn Morris
• “Cougar 101” Featurette
• Deleted Scene
• Trailer
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; 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.


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Cougars, Inc. [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 12, 2011)

I don’t know where the public fascination with “cougars” – older women who pursue younger men for sex – came from, but it doesn’t appear likely to fade any time soon. For another example of the genre, we go to 2011’s feature film Cougars, Inc.

Teenage Sam (Kyle Gallner) boasts excellent academic skills but consistently gets himself kicked out of various prep schools. He goes to yet another institution and finally seems to find his niche: he likes his headmaster (Jim Belushi), makes some pals, and even meets a cute prospective girlfriend named Courtney (Sarah Hyland). Alas, this goes awry when his former Playmate mother finds herself unable to pay the tuition, so Sam’s stint seems likely to come to an abrupt end.

Or maybe not. When Sam attempts to drown his sorrows at a local bar, he meets a 40-something hottie named Alison (Kathryn Morris) who’s there to mope over her cheating husband. Sam unintentionally charms her and ends up in the sack with the much older woman.

Out of gratitude, Alison leaves the struggling Sam a $500 check. Sam views this as a once in a lifetime event, but his pal Jimmy (Ryan Pinkston) thinks that this is a major money-making opportunity, as he believes Sam and the other teens can service other lonely cougars. From there, Sam and his buddies create their own “escort service” and cater to the local older ladies.

When you go into a movie like this, you expect an 80s-style teen romp. Which Cougars sorta kinda tries to be at times – when it doesn’t fashion itself as a more serious “coming of age” tale or a look at the lonely lives of married women.

So if you expect a neat ‘n’ tidy genre flick, you won’t get it here. Normally I’d regard that as a good thing, but in this case, the lack of consistency becomes a problem. This isn’t a movie that has a sure sense of where it’s going; instead, it seems to flail about without an idea of the actual tale it wants to tell.

Or if writer/director K. Asher Levin did know what movie he wanted to make, he wasn’t able to convey this on the screen. I suspect 1983’s Risky Business was the main template, especially given the vaguely melancholy tone. I think Business has a reputation as a standard 80s teen romp, but it’s more substantive than that, and it appears that Cougars wants to follow that same path.

Alas, it fails. Most of the time, the lack of consistency is the main issue. Cougars fails to follow its characters in a smooth manner, especially when it branches away from the teens. I guess it wants to allow us to invest in and understand the lives of the older women, but when it goes into their world, it gets lost. It’s not that we don’t care about the “cougars”, but this isn’t their story; attempts to tack on their side of things aren’t useful, as they’re too rudimentary to bring much to the table.

Cougars also tends to feel too much like a soap opera at times. It meshes the lives of the kids and the cougars in unlikely ways that come across like self-conscious plot twists more than anything else. These seem intended to add depth and intrigue but instead just appear borderline silly.

Not that I think Cougars is a loss. It boasts a decent cast and an interesting twist on its themes, although I’m not quite sure I buy the basic concept; couldn’t these super-hot “older women” get plenty of younger guy action a) free and b) with better-looking dudes?

Sure, but then there wouldn’t be a film. Cougars, Inc. has its moments, and I respect its attempts to alter a certain template, but I don’t think it succeeds much of the time. It becomes a watchable but not especially engaging flick.

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

Cougars, Inc. appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Shot on high-def video, much of the flick looked good, but a few issues affected my grade.

For the most part, sharpness satisfied. Occasional shots tended to be a bit iffy, but the majority of the flick demonstrated nice delineation and clarity. I noticed no shimmering, jaggies or edge enhancement. The image remained clean and lacked any source defects.

Colors were subdued. The movie preferred a somewhat amber feel and lacked many instances of vibrant hues, though the tones seemed fine; they were generally natural and full. Blacks were dark and tight, but shadows tended to be inconsistent; low-light shots could be somewhat dull. Overall, this was a generally positive presentation but not a great one.

Similar thoughts greeted the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Cougars, as it offered a decent but not great auditory experience. Sound quality was always good, at least. Music worked the best, as the score and songs demonstrated nice range and depth. Effects didn’t play a major role, but they seemed acceptably clear and accurate, while speech was distinctive and natural.

The soundscape lacked much to impress. Music dominated, as songs/score came from all around the spectrum. Effects had less to do, as they stayed in the realm of general environment. Some isolated info from the side and rear speakers occurred, but these elements remained minor; the majority of the track focused on basic ambience. Which was fine, as I didn't expect – or want – more than that from a flick of this sort.

A few extras flesh out the set. First comes an audio commentary with writer/director K. Asher Levin and actors Kyle Gallner and Kathryn Morris. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, music and editing, sets and locations, some story/character notes, cinematography, and a few other production areas.

Though the track starts slowly, it does improve as it progresses. The commentary gives us a reasonable examination of the film’s creation. The three participants mesh well and turn this into a fairly enjoyable piece; it’s never a great commentary, but it’s moderately useful.

Cougar 101 runs three minutes, one second as it shows teens who give us a primer about “cougars”. They throw out some pointless comments and tell us nothing of much interest.

One Deleted Scene lasts three minutes, 31 seconds. It lets us see a little more between Sam and the headmaster when we learn that Sam’s mom can’t pay for the school any longer. It’s just a minor extension of an existing sequence, so don’t expect much from it.

The disc opens with ads for Good Luck Chuck, My Best Friend’s Girl, Epix and break.com. These appear under Also from Lionsgate, and the disc throws in a trailer for Cougars as well.

Cougars, Inc. blends a mix of genres in a less than satisfying manner. While parts of it work, the effort fails to coalesce especially well, which makes it inconsistent and lackluster. The Blu-ray delivers generally positive picture and audio along with a few supplements highlighted by a decent commentary. Though not a bad film, Inc. is too up and down to become anything memorable.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.5714 Stars Number of Votes: 7
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