Kingpin appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 and in a 1.33:1 version on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Though inconsistent, the movie often looked reasonably good.
Sharpness was mostly positive. Wide shots showed some softness, and the limitations of SD-DVD meant the movie never looked especially distinctive, but it offered fairly nice clarity the majority of the time. Jagged edges and moirť effects cropped up but remained minor, and only light edge haloes appeared.
In terms of print flaws, these also seemed modest. I saw occasional specks and marks, but nothing significant occurred. However, the sides of the frame sometimes looked murky and dark, as if there was some weird blotchiness on the sides. Again, this was infrequent, but it creayed distractions when it occurred.
Colors were decent. The movie opted for a natural palette that showed average vivacity; the hues seemed acceptable but not as lively as Iíd like. Blacks were somewhat inky, and shadows looked a bit on the muddy side; neither issue seemed substantial, though. The image had too many ups and downs to be above a ďC+Ē, but I thought it held up surprisingly well for a transfer from 1999.
Donít expect much from the highly restrained Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Kingpin, as it offered little in terms of sonic ambition. In the front, the mix presented mediocre stereo spread and mild breadth from effects. Occasionally the track delivered a smidge of movement or involvement, but these instances were minor and forgettable.
Even less material came from the surrounds, as they stayed passive. In truth, the listener would be hard-pressed to cite many instances in which the back speakers came to life at all, as they seemed virtually silent. Granted, I donít expect much five-channel pizzazz from a comedy like this, but the imaging appeared awfully lackluster nonetheless.
Audio quality was also bland. Speech seemed intelligible and reasonably natural, which made it the strongest aspect of the track. Music stayed clear but didnít have much range, as the songs/score seemed somewhat flat and thin. Effects worked about the same, as they were clean but without much heft. Even with the limited expectations that came with a movie of this sort, I thought the soundtrack was a little below average.
In addition to the filmís trailer, we find an audio commentary with directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast and crew, sets and locations, story and characters, shooting the bowling, editing and deleted scenes, music, and related subjects.
When I first listened to this commentary in 1999, I thought it was a meandering bore. Some of those impressions remain, but I can locate more value in it now.
The negative comes from the brothersí fondness for naming names. Sometimes it feels like they do nothing other than tell us the identities of everyone who appears on screen, most of whom appear to be friends and family. That gets old fast, and the occasional dead spots also donít help the commentary.
When the brothers invest in the filmmaking process, though, they offer a pretty good chat. I like their thoughts about their comedy preferences/choices, and they tell us a lot about their editing/storytelling decisions. They also prove to be more self-critical than expected, as they relate what they donít think works in the movie. Its status as annotated credit roll means the commentary becomes a chore at times, but it does give us some good info along the way.
Despite a mix of talented actors, Kingpin canít overcome its own basic idiocy. The movie relies on a long series of witless gags and wears out its welcome well before it finishes. The DVD brings us average picture and audio along with an inconsistent commentary. This becomes a mediocre release for a bad movie.