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MOVIE INFO

Director:
David Kendall
Cast:
Milo Ventimiglia, Lacey Chabert, Charles Durning, Matthew Carey, Alex Solowitz, Zoe Saldana, Billy L. Sullivan, Tom Amandes
Writing Credits:
Jon Land, Jonathan Thies

Tagline:
10 Dares. 12 Hours. One Wild Night.

Synopsis:
A high school senior tries to become the first student ever to complete an outrageous series of challenges - known as the Dirty Deeds - that must be completed between dusk and dawn on the Friday night of Homecoming Weekend.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$1.473 thousand on 3 screens.
Domestic Gross
$145.450 thousand.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.78:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 86 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 1/10/2006

Bonus:
• Behind the Scenes Interviews
• “Soho House Party”
• Trailer


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RELATED REVIEWS


Dirty Deeds

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 16, 2006)

I thought that the teen film craze of the late Nineties had pretty much ended. I used to get frequent e-mails from kids cheesed that I didn’t adore 10 Things I Hate About You, but I can’t recall the last time I received one of those poorly written missives.

I guess someone still thinks there’s a market for teen flicks, as we learn via the release of Dirty Deeds. At West Valley High, the 10 “Dirty Deeds” enjoy a legendary reputation. Anyone who takes the challenges has to complete them the night before Homecoming, but the few who take the task even remotely come close to success.

We quickly meet the crew we’ll follow through the flick. Senior Zach Harper (Milo Ventimiglia) toys with authority and always stands one step from expulsion due to his smart-ass ways. He acts as pal and defender of picked-on freshman Kyle Cummings (Wes Robinson), the favorite target of Big Man on Campus Dan Lawton (Matthew Carey). Why does Lawton abuse Kyle so much? Because the frosh’s hot older sister Meg (Lacey Chabert) is the only girl at the school who resists the stud’s “charms”.

Tired of being the target of Lawton’s general jerkiness, Kyle fights back when he declares he’ll attempt the Deeds. Since this’ll undoubtedly end poorly, Zach stands up for his little pal and acts as his Deed-substitute. In addition to some subplots related to put upon party host Bobby D (Ray Santiago) and his attempts to hook-up with cute Alison (Arielle Kebbel), the movie follows Zach’s attempts to complete all 10 Deeds in 12 hours.

Perhaps it’d be easier for me to discuss the good parts of Dirty Deeds instead of the negative; it’d sure save me some time. Hmm… let’s see… Well, the movie does feature a lot of attractive girls, and they show a little non-nude skin. The cast in general seems to try their best, and I can discern actual talent from a few folks like Ventimiglia. I think the basic concept of the Deeds is moderately clever as well.

Too bad they’re buried in such dreck. The paragraph above sums up all the positive aspects of this atrocity. Who did Charles Durning piss off to deserve to be in junk like this?

Essentially Deeds mushes together bits and pieces of other movies, most of which fall into the teen genre. We get a little Ferris Bueller here, a little American Pie there, and various other influences as well. One scene even blatantly steals from Weekend at Bernie’s.

None of this even remotely amuses. If there’s a laugh to be found in this mess, I missed it. The film even attempts to churn comedy out of a high school student who belongs to Alcoholics Anonymous. While this doesn’t offend me, I sure don’t see any humor in it.

Things falter due to the general incoherence of the movie as well. Even though it follows a relentlessly linear path, the storytelling is a mushy mess. We get little definition for the characters or their subplots, and the flick flits about with irrational abandon. A voiceover appears out of nowhere and doesn’t get used with any logic. Add to that an ending that tries to be sweet and emotional but just ends up as sappy, largely due to a big moralizing speech that materializes out of thin air.

Director David Kendall comes from a TV background and it shows. With only a few exceptions, the movie looks like a sitcom – and a cheap one at that. The variations occur due to his periodic, nonsensical use of handheld camerawork. Is he trying to give the flick a documentary feel? For God’s sake, why?

Dirty Deeds leaves us with many more questions than answers. Who thought this movie would be funny? How could a professional director with more than a decade’s experience create such an incoherent film? Where can I get a selective lobotomy to remove all memory of this loser from my mind?

I don’t know if Dirty Deeds is the worst teen comedy I’ve seen lately, since American Pie Presents Band Camp sure reeked. At least that one included some skin, so it gets the higher grade. The “PG-13” Dirty Deeds doesn’t even have the cojones to bear some female flesh. That helps make it a total stinker.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio D+/ Bonus D-

Dirty Deeds appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. An all-around attractive picture, this one suffered from only a few minor issues.

Sharpness rarely faltered. A few wide shots looked slightly soft, but those weren’t a real problem. Most of the movie appeared nicely defined and detailed. I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, though a little light edge enhancement occurred. Source flaws seemed absent.

Deeds went with a natural, untainted palette that looked good. The colors were nicely warm and vibrant throughout the movie, and they seemed pleasing. Blacks were reasonably deep and firm, but shadows were a little dense. The low-light shots never seemed truly problematic, but I thought they were just a bit murky. Nonetheless, the movie offered a pretty strong visual experience.

Though not dazzling, I also thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Dirty Deeds seemed solid – except for some massive problems at one point and a few smaller ones on other occasions. These weren’t nit-picking concerns; they were substantial enough to drastically alter my grade.

Music dominated the soundscape. The movie featured nearly omnipresent use of pop-rock tunes, and those offered good stereo imaging in the front and decent expansion to the surrounds. The rest of the soundfield remained fairly restricted. Some panning and environmental material popped up throughout the film, but not enough to make much of an impact. For those elements, surround usage was minor.

Audio quality seemed very good. Speech was always distinctive and concise, and I detected no problems with the lines. Effects seemed clear and accurate. During the few moments that pushed my system, they showed nice definition and punch. Music was usually quite strong, as the songs were dynamic and peppy. Bass response was deep and robust.

So how’d the mix end up with a “D+”? Because a mix of problems badly marred it. The most noticeable occurred at the 69-minute mark. If you listen to the 5.1 track, the sound totally disappeared for 24 seconds. The movie then stuttered visually before the audio returned. This didn’t happen during the 2.0 track.

Even after the audio came back, I noticed issues around that point. A nasty whine emitted from the front left. It vanished after a few seconds, and the track was fine the rest of the way.

The only other problems related to bass and music. Sporadically throughout the movie, low-end would drop out of the songs for no logical reason. This didn’t last long and happened just a few times, but it created some distractions. Though these weren’t as severe as the bizarre flaw at 69 minutes, they were noticeable and annoying. All of these serious issues caused me to give the mix a “D+”; without them, it’d have made a “B” or “B+” easily.

Only a few minor extras fill out the DVD. We get a collection of Behind the Scenes Interviews. These last a whopping two minutes and include comments from director David Kendall along with actors Lacey Chabert, Charles Durning, Zoë Saldana, Milo Ventimiglia, Michael Milhoan, Tom Amandes, Alex Solowitz, Matthew Carey, Keith Britton, and Mark Derwin. A couple of other guys pop up as well, but I didn’t recognize them and the DVD doesn’t credit them, so I can’t mention their names.

Nothing more than fluff appears here. We get extremely rudimentary casting and character notes along with a couple of comments about the director. All of this falls firmly into the happy talk domain and we learn virtually nothing about the film.

In addition to the trailer for Dirty Deeds, we find something called Soho House Party. This one-minute and 20-second clip simply shows a gala held to celebrate the film. At least I guess that’s what it offers – there’s no intelligible dialogue or description of the action. Indeed, with its many close-ups of a display for a certain beverage, it looks more like an ad than anything else. The clip is a complete waste of time.

Any movie that almost shows Lacey Chabert topless and features Arielle Kebbel in skimpy undergarments can’t be referred to as a “complete waste of time”, but Dirty Deeds comes close. A lame melange of rip-offs from other teen movies, it lacks inspiration, charm or humor. The DVD offers pretty good picture, but the audio suffers from some significant problems. We get no useful extras. A flawed DVD for a terrible film, I recommend you avoid this loser.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.845 Stars Number of Votes: 71
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