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Featured Blu-ray: Beautiful Girls

March 26th, 2013

Beautiful Girls - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon

Echo Bridge Home Entertainment is a distributor that specializes in releasing bargain DVD and Blu-rays for films that are generally forgotten. I don't think it is unfair to say that. I was a little surprised to see they were releasing Beautiful Girls on Blu-ray, and it was the film's Blu-ray debut. Has this film been forgotten? Granted, it has been a while since I've seen this movie, but I remember really liking it. Is it as good as I remember? And is the Blu-ray worth picking up?

The Movie

Beautiful Girls is more of a character study than a plot-driven film. The film focuses on a group of guys who reunite for their high school reunion. The first of these guys we are introduced to is Willie Conway, who is the only one of his friends that moved away to the big city. He landed in New York and became a professional pianist, but never rose above the level of lounge player. Now he's starting to think it's time to retire from music to get a real job and settle down with his girlfriend, Tracy. Tommy "Birdman" Rowland was the big man in high school and was a hockey star, but his life has flatlined since then. He now runs a snow plow company and is in a steady relationship with Sharon. As we see at the beginning of the movie, he still has a thing for his ex, Darian, and the feelings are mutual, despite the fact that she's married. Kev and Paul are two other high school friends who work with Tommy. Both of whom haven't quite grown up either, but in different ways. Kev was never super popular in school and still doesn't have a steady girlfriend. Paul used to have a steady girlfriend, Jan, but when that ended, he took it poorly and has been vindictive. The final member of the group is Michael "Mo" Morris. He's the only one that actually grew up. He's got a wife, Sarah (Anne Bobby), and a couple kids. The guys hang out a lot, including spending time at Stinky's bar.

When Willie gets into town, he's picked up by Mo and dropped off at his father's house. He's a little worried about talking to his dad, Dick (Richard Bright), because the pair never really had a close relationship. It became even more strained after the death of his mother. Willie's brother, Bobby, is still living with his father and hasn't quite grown up either. He's surrounded by immature and emotionally crippled people. That's not quite fair. There is someone mature he can talk to, Marty, his next door neighbor, who is a 13-year old girl. The pair start talking and actually develop a good relationship. (It's not at all creepy, despite what some of his friends imply.) Also added into the mix is Andera, Stinky's cousin, who is beautiful, so beautiful that none of the gang think she and Stinky can be released. There's also Gina, who spends most of her time with the ladies, but occasionally interacts with the guys.

Most of the movie, it's just two or more characters talking about their lives and their problems and what they should do to fix them. Most of the time, they are screwing up, a lot, because most of the guys are immature. However, while there's not a real plot driven the film, it is engaging learning about these characters. The writing is very good, especially the dialogue, which obviously key for a film like this. The writer, Scott-Rosenberg, did an excellent job at keeping the dialogue real, while the director, Ted Demme, helped balance the humor and the pathos. The acting is very strong in this movie from the entire cast and the chemistry was a real asset. This is especially true in the scenes between Timothy Hutton and Natalie Portman. Had they not gotten their scenes right, the film would have been creepy and / or really dark.

The Extras

There are two featurettes. The first is a 27-minute long behind-the-scenes featurette, which is a lot longer and more in-depth than I was expecting. There is also a shorter 3-minute featurette with the cast describing what they think makes a beautiful woman. Like the previous Echo Bridge Home Entertainment I reviewed today, this one's technical presentation is merely mixed. It's an upgrade from the DVD, but the level of details, the colors, etc. are nothing special compared to first run Blu-rays coming out. Also, the audio is limited to 2.0 stereo, so there's nothing fancy here. Then again, it also has a bargain price and that does factor into things.

The Verdict

I'm a little disappointed Beautiful Girls isn't getting a bigger Blu-ray release. It's a great movie and I would love to see the cast get together again. Maybe in a few years for the film's 20th anniversary. It is absolutely worth checking out, and since this Blu-ray costs just $6, it is easily worth picking up.

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Filed under: Video Review, Beautiful Girls, Timothy Hutton, Rosie O'Donnell, Mira Sorvino, Uma Thurman, David Arquette, Ted Demme, Matt Dillon, Noah Emmerich, Annabeth Gish, Lauren Holly, Max Perlich, Martha Plimpton, Natalie Portman, Michael Rapaport, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Scott Rosenberg