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TOUCHSTONE PICTURES

MOVIE INFO
Director:
Wallace Wolodarsky
Cast:
Barry Watson, Michael Rosenbaum, Harland Williams, Melissa Sagemiller, Tony Denman, Brad Beyer
Screenplay:
Joe Jarvis & Greg Coolidge

Tagling:
Look Closer (Not That Close)
Box Office:
Budget $12 million.
Opening weekend $4.127 million on 1801 screens.
Domestic gross $10.198 million.
MPAA:
Rated R for crude sexual content, nudity, strong language and some drug use.

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 10/15/2002

Bonus:
• "Boys Will Be Girls" Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
• "All The Angels" Multi-Filmmaker Points of View


PURCHASE
DVD

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EQUIPMENT
Hitachi 31" TV; Kenwood VR-507 receiver with built in DD 5.1/DTS Decoder; Kenwood Left, Right, Center and Powered Sub; Audio Sphere Rear Surrounds; Toshiba SD-2800 DVD Player; Acoustic Research Fiber Optics and S-Video Cables.

RELATED REVIEWS


Sorority Boys (2002)

Reviewed by Blake Kenny

Banking on teenage and young adult interest – Hollywood has been making college fraternity and sorority films for as long as I can remember. Chances are that if you have seen even one movie of this type – you’ve pretty much seen them all. The guys throw huge keggers and get drunk, smoke copious amounts of weed through a water bong and try to get laid as many times during a single night as humanly possible. The women in these films are usually hot and well endowed - climbing in and out of bed with the guys and traditionally wearing little or no clothing at all. Either that or the women preach the gospel of female equal rights and the males selfish desire to bed them. Like those films before it - Sorority Boys pretty much falls into the same category and all the same clichés. A tried and true formula for laughs, but does Sorority Boys pave a new path all it own, or just give us the same old stuff we’ve all seen a million times before?

The film stars three popular young college friends: Dave, Adam and Doofer (Played by Barry Watson, Michael Rosenbaum and Harland Williams), later to be known as Daisy, Adena and Roberta. The trio are members of a top Fraternity known as “Kappa Omicron Kappa” or “K.O.K.” – and yes, this abbreviation is intended to point out the frats sexual agenda and promiscuous lifestyle. As expected KOK loves to thrown huge parties and naturally takes great joy in humiliating the female members of a sorority known as “Delta Omicron Gamma” or “D.O.G.” – and yes, you guessed it, this sorority is the home for a group of unpopular and continuously ridiculed ugly girls.

Needless to say, the members of KOK are a bunch of womanizing, chauvinistic pigs, while the members of DOG are a bunch of man-haters with low self esteem, teetering on the edge of becoming full-blown lesbians. You know, the usual.

Anyway, problems arise for the trio of friends when KOK’s president Spence, (Brad Beyer) sets them up and accuses them of stealing the frats finances. Of course it’s all a big mistake and they’re immediately expelled from the fraternity, thrown out of the house and left in the awkward position of trying to prove their innocence. Not only that, but they now have nowhere to live.

To little surprise, one of the 3 men – Adam has a nasty habit of videotaping his sexual conquests and is reasonably certain that the true thief may have unknowingly videotaped himself in the act of stealing the money. The only problem is – how to get into the house and retrieve the tape without being immediately thrown from the premises? How! Dress up like women! That’s how! Well gee, do storylines get anymore simplistic than this or what? Lo and behold – that’s the entire plot.

Needless to say, our 3 friends are far from attractive as ladies. In fact, they’re downright nasty looking - and while infiltrating the men’s frat house in search of the tape, they’re instantly apprehended, barked at because they’re bow-wows and then tossed onto the front steps of the DOG sorority house. Seeing them as 3 more innocent victims like themselves, they’re immediately welcomed into the fold and offered sanctuary within their walls. On the plus side, new members into the sorority conveniently get free room and board for their first semester. Well bless their lucky stars huh?

The men are left with little choice but to continue on with their charade as women. Now that they have the housing issue taken care of – all the remains is to get into the frat house, recover the tape, prove their innocence and hopefully get on with their normal lives. Obviously things aren’t going to be that simple.

Issue are complicated thanks to many unforeseen factors – actually I pretty much saw all this stuff coming, but the characters didn’t. For example there’s a horny frat boy who is determined to bed one of our 3 friends – and naturally the videotape the guys are seeking is hidden in this little perverts bedroom. On top of that, one of the men unintentionally becomes attracted to a young girl named Leah (Melissa Sagemiller) – the acting DOG sorority leader. A romantic issue that’s complicated ever more by that fact that Leah believes this man to be a woman.

Throughout the film you’ll see all the run of the mill and stereotypical college hyjinx you would come to expect. The only thing that separated this film from all the rest was the fact that it ends with somewhat of a moral lesson. With their lives having changed by living under the roof of DOG, the friends learn something about tolerance of other people and compassion for their feeling. For me the lesson was wasted, because I didn’t really care one way or another about the hardships the people in the film had to endured in their lives. I guess I was expecting more of a gross-out comedy and just wanted to laugh at little – but for some reason this movie just never really took off. Even though this movie had the potential to be a great comedy – it’s possibilities were never really explored. In the end it falls flat.

The acting is also much like you’d expect. While few of the players were downright horrible, none of them particularly shined either. In fact, one of the main reasons I wanted to review this DVD was because I had seen Harland Williams do stand-up comedy a few times and figured he would bring a lot of laughs to the film. Unfortunately, as a comedian there is only so much you can do with a less than stellar script. While Williams does his best to get laughs with the lines he’s been given, inevitably even he couldn’t save this picture from joining the ever growing pile of forgettable comedies.

In the end the film was nothing more than typical. From it’s dull opening to its equally dull ending. While Sorority Boys offered a lot of pranks, none of them were either original or interesting, except perhaps for launching huge rubber dildos across the campus with a giant slingshot. In fact, many of the joke and key plot point were predictable right from the get go. Sure, you don’t expect twist and turns like the Sixth Sense, but you a least expect the forgettable story to be compensated for with some good jokes. While I did chuckle occasionally, I think I was already 30 minute into the film before I found my first laugh. I giggled a few times thereafter, but as a whole nothing about this movie did the trick for me. The laughs were sparse at best and while a few scenes were amusing, they were pretty damn far from hilarious. They were just – ok.


The DVD Grades: Picture A- / Audio B / Bonus C

Sorority Boys is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 – it has also been enhanced for widescreen 16x9 televisions.

As expected for a film that was just released in theatres over the summer, the picture quality and clarity is pretty close to perfect. During the feature I noticed no significant defects what so ever. No artifacts, no grain, no speckles – nothing. There’s very little room for complain here. The picture remained crisp and sharp throughout most of the presentation - and I detected only a rare occasion of fuzziness. Overall - Very Nice.

Naturally, Sorority Boys featured a diverse range of colours. Considering the subject matter of the film, there was little surprise in seeing the complete gamete of the colour spectrum. Everything from the excessive use of red rouge and lipstick to the blue eye shadow adorned by our men dressed in drag was perfectly represented. Everything appeared nice and accurate without even a hint of saturation or colour bleeding.

Contrast also showed little cause for concern. Black levels were perfect and at no time did they appear even remotely unnatural. In fact, the only thing preventing me from giving this film a higher grade is the knowledge that most of this picture was filmed indoors and under very controlled conditions. So needless to say, there’s no reason why the picture shouldn’t be great. Now, if it had been filmed outdoors and had this level of clarity, then an A+ would certainly have been in order.

Sorority Boys comes complete with a Dolby 5.1 sound track, it also includes both French and Spanish subtitles.

While the sound was very clear, crisp and intelligible throughout the film, I never really felt impressed with the 5.1 track. For starters, there was very little activity from the rear surrounds. Except for a few effects, which were few and far between, I hardly noticed them at all. Now I understand this is a comedy and that rear surround activity is usually pretty subdued in this type of film – but even when there was music playing, it completely dominated the front end. Most of the time it felt like a typical stereo presentation and seemed to lack the immersion I’ve become accustomed too. I have no complaints about the quality of the sound in general, especially since it was both rich and full, but in the end I just found the 5.1 track to be very lacking and uninteresting.

As is often the case, only the biggest of blockbusters get the heavy supplemental additions. Since Sorority Boys never even came close to that level of stature, it comes to no surprise to discover only a few basic extras.

First up we get Behind the Scenes “All the Angles”. This addition allows the viewer to watch the filming and preparations involved in 2 scenes (not 3 scenes as mentioned in the sequence introduction) from the movie. The 2 scenes can be viewed from any of 5 different camera angles, each conveniently provided by miniature cameras located around the necks of the various crew members.

Scene 210 runs for 4 minutes and 42 seconds, while scene 212 runs for 4 minutes and 25 seconds. Naturally each of these 2 scenes is essentially 5 times as long should you decide to watch each of them, in their entirely, from each of the 5 different angles. Do that math and that’s a total of 45 minutes and 35 seconds worth of behind the scenes footage.

While there are only 2 different moments in time provided - each of the 5 different angles offers a very different perspective of the production process. While switching to the director might show him giving guidance to one of the actors for the next shot, switching over to the make-up artist might show him doing touch-ups on another one of the actors. What you see is entirely dependant of the angle you choose to watch from.

The camera angles for this particular feature are provided by Wally Wolodarsky the director, George Baniker the assistant director, Noon Orsatti the stunt coordinator and Tommy Cole the key make-up artist. A fifth angle, which is not mentioned in the sequence introduction is simply entitled “Dailies”. This particular angle seems to be stationary and essentially shows crew member reviewing the dailies for the scene currently being filmed.

Each of the afore mentioned crew members also provides a few brief comments ranging in subjects from their past to their present duties on the set. Their comments range in time from 1 minutes and 35 seconds to 2 minutes and 42 seconds – for a grand total of 8 minutes and 53 seconds worth of material.

Admittedly this is a cool special feature, but it’s not all fun and games since the crew member don’t always go out of their way to make sure they’re pointing their camera towards something exciting. It’s not uncommon for an angle to become extremely boring for a good chunk of the time.

Personally I would have preferred a good ensemble of footage to be taken from each of the angles and spliced together into one cohesive segment. I have a hard enough time being in the “right place at the right time” in real life - and somehow I figure a montage would have saved me a lot of screwing around. While some people are bound to find this multi-angle feature as fun and enjoyable - I only lost interest.

Second up is a featurette simply entitled – Boys will be Girls. This segment runs for a mere 2 minutes and 27 seconds and provides virtually no information at all. On the whole, hardly a word is spoken. We’re simply treated to a humorous collection of clips. The clips are fairly good for a laugh since they show the films 3 male stars – soon to be female stars - enduring the tortures of womanhood. They’re shown getting into their wigs and other wardrobe, posing for publicity photos and… ouch…. having the hair ripped from their legs. All in all it was entertaining, but too brief to be of any real value.

All in all I found the Sorority Boys DVD to be a bit of a let down. While the film itself contains exceptional picture quality; the sound wasn’t quit up to the level I’ve come to expect from other 5.1 tracks. Combine that with an ambitious, yet ultimately disappointing set of bonus features, and you’re left with little than another generic disc. Still, it’s the film itself that’s important right? If the picture's good and the sound is decent, who cares about the special feature right? Well yaa, but the movie stinks!

While the Sorority Boys DVD is certainly passable in it’s own right, the film itself is undeniably a dimwitted bomb. Sure, I enjoy college fraternity and sorority movies as much as the next guy, but lets face it, most of it has been done before and coming up with something new and original can be difficult. While I don’t personally recall a college film where the guys had to dress up like women, the film still winds up feeling old and uninteresting despite this new idea. This isn’t helped by the fact the most of the movie simply isn’t funny. Sure it’s got a good joke here and there, but most of it inspired little more than an occasional grin on my part. All said and done, the Sorority Boys DVD certainly doesn’t merit a purchase, in fact, it hardly even deserves my recommendation for a rental – unless Van Wilder is all out and choices are running low.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.1111 Stars Number of Votes: 9
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