Date Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This wasn’t a bad transfer, but it wasn’t anything special.
Sharpness generally seemed good, but not always. Some wide shots displayed moderate softness, though those occurred fairly rarely. For the most part, the movie appeared acceptably crisp and well defined. Jagged edges and moiré effects caused no concerns, but I did notice edge enhancement on occasion. Print flaws seemed non-existent.
Colors often looked good, as the movie featured a nicely broad palette of bright and vibrant hues. However, the tones occasionally seemed a bit pale. At times the colors came across as somewhat thin. Black levels appeared deep and dense, however, and shadow detail was appropriately dark but not too thick. Ultimately, Date Movie looked reasonably good much of the time, but I thought the DVD suffered from a few too many problems for a brand-new offering.
Though the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Date Movie didn’t show great ambition, it seemed fine for this sort of flick. Not surprisingly, the soundfield usually emphasized the forward channels. In that domain, I heard good stereo imaging for the music and also discerned a fair sense of place and atmosphere. The track didn’t offer a lot of information from the sides, but it created a decent environment. Surround usage usually tended toward general reinforcement of the music and ambient effects.
Audio quality generally appeared good. Speech sounded distinct and natural, and I encountered no concerns related to intelligibility or edginess. Effects appeared clean and accurate, and they showed reasonable depth when necessary. Music also demonstrated good dynamics, with bright highs and rich bass. Overall, the audio of Date Movie supported the material acceptably well.
A surprisingly broad mix of extras rounds out this DVD. We get three separate audio commentaries. The first comes from writer/director Aaron Seltzer and writer Jason Friedberg. Both sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion. They talk about the actors and crew, production details, effects of budget and the tight schedule, ratings issues and changes made for the extended cut, and references to other movies. Don’t actually expect to hear the allusions to the flicks that inspired this one’s bits, though. The Fox lawyers got to the commentary, so anytime they state that they spoofed a specific film, we hear a beep. The same thing happens when they refer to real-life folks like Michael Jackson. Obviously there’s a legal reason for all these beeps, but they get irritating.
Nonetheless, the commentary proves pretty entertaining. Seltzer and Friedberg show a nice dry sense of humor, a fact that shocks me given the crumminess of the comedy in their movie. They toss out a lot of self-deprecating comments and – accurately, I might add – tell us how much their flick sucks. Even though they berate DVD critics as the piece progresses, I don’t mind. We don’t learn a ton in this track – partially due to all the deleted content – but it’s an enjoyable ride.
Next we hear from actors Alyson Hannigan, Adam Campbell, Sophie Monk, Valery Ortiz and Tony Cox. All five sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion. We learn more about the impact of the Fox lawyers here, as the participants actively mention the restrictions placed upon them.
The upside? No annoying beeps. The downside? The actors clearly censor themselves since they can’t mention other movies and whatnot. This leads to a pretty dull chat.
Or maybe it would have been boring anyway, but the legal restrictions seem to put a damper on the affair. The actors chat about little more than general production notes. We get info about topics like Hannigan’s fat suit, stunt doubles, and the like, but not a lot of memorable specifics emerge. Much of the time the actors just laugh at the movie and tell us how much they like various segments. They also make sure we know how much fun they had making it. There’s not much interesting information in this track.
For the final piece, we get an “anti-commentary” with critics Scott Foundas and Bob Strauss. Both sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. The term “anti-commentary” implies that the critics hated the film and will savage it, but that’s only partially true. Indeed, Foundas intensely disliked the flick, but he refrains from too much overt nastiness toward it. Inexplicably, Strauss enjoyed Date Movie, so he spends much of the chat in defense of it. He seems a bit sheepish as he does so – he clearly knows he’s in the minority when it comes to fans of this effort – but he tries his best to convince us that Date Movie isn’t an abomination.
Strauss fails in those efforts, though it’s mildly interesting to hear him go through those motions. Really, the critics tend to repeat the same ideas over and over as they assail the film’s style. As I mention in my own critique, they note that Date Movie does little more than take scenes from other flicks and repeat them with minor variations. This seems okay with Strauss, but Foundas clearly feels less pleased with the concept.
Oddly, they’re allowed to name some names that are bleeped in the first commentary. This means we actually hear a reference to Michael Jackson, and they also mention a few other flicks, though they restrain themselves. Just like the actors, they got a copy of the Official Fox Lawyers’ Commentary Rules and they usually abide by them. Only their reference to King Kong gets the big beep.
The “anti-commentary” is a fun concept, as I have to admire the suits at Fox for their willingness to allow negative opinions appear on the DVD. In execution, though, it’s not so hot. Part of the problem stems from the thin quality of Date Movie itself; the flick doesn’t exactly open itself up to deep discussion. I also wish the critics had savaged it more strongly, though I find myself oddly pleased that they used someone who liked it; that’s a more creative notion. All of this ends up as a decent commentary but not anything memorable.
Another audio option occurs with an Optional Laugh Track. This presents the movie in Dolby Surround 2.0 accompanied by laughter and other interaction. The DVD doesn’t indicate if this was recorded at an actual screening or if it was created artificially, but I guess it’s the latter. There’s no way any audience ever watcher this movie and found it to be so amusing. They laugh at anything and everything. Heck, they cheer and shriek as well! This can’t be real – the movie’s too atrocious. Anyway, the option is here if you choose to activate it. I don’t see the point, though.
12 Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes fill a total of 18 minutes and 14 seconds. The most notable bits offer an even more blatant reference to Bridget Jones’ Diary, an alternate dinner scene that tells us more about Grant’s career and shows a flaming waitress, and a different conclusion that sends Nicky to Hitch. None of these bits are in the least bit entertaining, and most are pretty redundant.
Called On Dating, a four-minute and 24-second featurette presents some of the actors. We hear from Hannigan, Campbell, Monk, Eddie Griffin and Fred Willard. They discuss their dating experiences. These prove mildly amusing.
Making a Spoof lasts 18 minutes and six seconds. It decides to show part of the movie’s filming as a parody of Peter Jackson’s Production Diaries. Adam Campbell plays Jackson as he leads us through the creation of the flick’s ending with Carmen Electra. Actually, it tells us very little about that sequence. It mainly just pokes fun at Jackson and relates only a couple of notes about Date Movie. It manages a couple of nearly funny bits, but mostly it just wastes our time.
Next comes a two-minute and 40-second Gag Reel. For the most part, it presents the usual goofs and silliness. However, we do get some amusing shots of the tot who plays Little Jack as he refuses to say his lines.
A “set-top game” called Andy’s Cherry Stem Surprise requires you to answer questions about that character. If you get them right, you see different cherry stem creations. They’re easy and the badly animated “surprises” are cheesy.
After this we find Fun With Casting, a one-minute and 46-second set of audition tapes. We see Monk, Campbell, Ortiz and actors who played smaller roles. This comes as a compilation that provides short snippets of their try-outs. This acts as a decent collection, though the format doesn’t work well; I’d rather have seen more extended clips.
For those with short attention spans, we get The Quickie”: Date Movie In Six Minutes. This segment actually runs six minutes and 26 seconds. It shows some film snippets but speeds through most of it. It’s a gimmicky waste of time, though the prospect of spending only six minutes with this crappy flick appeals to me.
In another useful feature, we get two Romantic TV Screensavers. These include “Sunset” and “Fireplace”. They offer fake vistas and are pretty lame.
In addition to the film’s International Trailer, we get three TV Spots, five Internet Clips and a soundtrack spot. The DVD opens with an ad for Grandma’s Boy. We also get an Inside Look at the remake of The Omen, Thank You For Smoking and Trust the Man. We just find trailers for those movies; no “behind the scenes” glimpses occur.
Note that although the DVD’s case touts the presence of “Andy’s Poolside Extended Dailies” and even adds the salacious footer “yes, she’s in a bikini”, I find no evidence that this feature appears on the disc. We do find some sexy footage of Sophie Monk in the “Deleted Scenes” area, but the case already mentions those separately. Maybe they tried to get double attention for the same feature.
If I’ve seen a dumber or less entertaining flick than Date Movie, I can’t recall it. Perhaps that’s because this atrocity assaulted my brain cells and actively made me lose IQ points with increased exposure to it. Mean-spirited, idiotic and witless, it offers not a single moment of entertainment.
The DVD itself is generally average. It provides decent picture and audio along with a surprisingly large roster of extras. Too bad their quality varies quite a lot and not much useful material emerges. This means we get a lackluster DVD for an atrocious film. If you still decide to check out Date Movie, don’t come crying to me when it’s done. I warned you!