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Featured Blu-ray review: Four Weddings and a Funeral and Overboard

July 23rd, 2011

Four Weddings and a Funeral - Blu-ray and Overboard - Blu-ray

At the beginning of the month, MGM released several films from their ample library on Blu-ray for the first time. These include Be Cool Blu-ray, The Cutting Edge Blu-ray, A Guy Thing Blu-ray, Honeymoon in Vegas Blu-ray, Wedding Daze Blu-ray, as well as two films that I got a chance to review, starting with...

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Hugh Grant leads an amazing cast as Charles, whom we meet on the wedding day of Angus and Laura. He's the best man, but that doesn't stop him from turning off the alarm clock and going right back to sleep. Meanwhile, the rest of his friends are getting ready for the same wedding. There's Fiona and Tom, who are brother and sister, and incredibly wealthy. Gareth and Matthew, who are a gay couple. There's a brief appearance by David, Charles's brother. While those five get off to the wedding on time, Charles and his roommate Scarlett have to race to the church and barely get there in time... only for Charles to realize he has forgotten the rings. The wedding isn't a total disaster for him, as he meets Carrie and he's immediately smitten.

The plot of the rest of the movie is rather straightforward. Charles goes to various weddings, and one funeral, with ups and downs. Mainly he's trying to start a relationship with Carrie, but there are other plot threads as well, and not all of them are happy. (There is a funeral, after all.)

This is one of the film's strengths. It balances the humor and the more dramatic very well. Obviously, it leans towards the former more than the latter; it is a romantic comedy. The pedigree of this film is practically legendary. It was directed by Mike Newell, who also made Enchanted April, Donnie Brasco, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (Talk about a diverse career.) It was written by Richard Curtis, who has only directed a couple of movies (including Love, Actually with Hugh Grant) but he has written countless classic TV shows and movies. (His work with Rowan Atkinson alone is enough to ensure his inclusion in any "best of" list.) Finally, for years after this film was made, Hugh Grant was synonymous with the genre. For all three of these people, you could argue that this is the best film they were a part of.

On the other hand, the film is still a romantic comedy and it is a little fluffy at times and does fall for some of the normal clich├ęs, but overall it is still one of the best.

The Extras

The extras on this Blu-ray are all ported over from the deluxe DVD, so it's shovelware, which is a bit of a disappointment, but at least there are enough extras to make it worth while. The extras start with an audio commentary track featuring Mike Newell, Richard Curtis, and Duncan Kenworthy (the last participant is one of the producers). There's a good amount of information passed along and the three have good chemistry. Four Weddings and a Funeral In the Making is exactly what it sounds like, a making of featurette. It's a little short, so if you only want to watch one making of featurette, stick with the 30-minute The Wedding Planners. Two Actors and a Director runs six minutes long and features Mike Newell, Hugh Grant, and Andie MacDowell talking about the casting. Finally, there are several deleted scenes, with introductions by Duncan Kenworthy.

The technical presentation is good, all things considered. It cost less than $5 million to make and was made close to 20 years ago, so you can't expect it to look as good as the average big budget blockbuster made today. Some of the scenes are a little soft, while the shadows can swallow up some of the finer details. But for the most part the details are crisp, the colors are great, etc. There are some instances of print damage that I noticed, but only during the opening scenes. This is not unique and I've noticed that on more than a few Blu-rays, the opening credits are the weakest part of the transfer. First impressions are lasting impressions, so you would think this is the last thing a studio would want. (On the other hand, it is possible I noticed them because it was the opening credits, which is when I was paying the least amount of attention to the plot.) The audio is clear, but uncomplicated. As a dialogue driven comedy, having very clear dialogue is the most important factor, and there are some ambient sounds coming from the rear speakers, as well as the score, but there's not a lot of sound design.

The Verdict

This is the third, or perhaps fourth time I've owned Four Weddings and a Funeral and while the Blu-ray is shovelware and it's not pushing the boundaries of format in video or audio, it is certainly worth the $12 asking price on


Overboard is a hard film to describe, because if you like the film you are forced to say, 'It's not as bad as it sounds.'

The film mostly takes place in a small town in Oregon where an exceedingly rich couple, Joanne and Grant Stayton III, have docked their yacht while it is being repaired. Joanna decides to pass the time by hiring a local carpenter, Dean Proffit, to redesign her closet. She is the pinnacle of the boss from hell, but Dean puts up with it, because there should be a big pay day at the end of the job and since he's a widower raising four boys on his own, he could use the money. However, she stiffs him. She doesn't like the wood he's chosen and refuses to pay. Dean's had enough and really tears her down for abusing everyone around her and refuses to leave until he gets paid. She reacts by pushing him overboard and ordering the boat to set sail.

Very quickly karma comes calling and Joanne falls overboard and no one aboard her yacht notices, at least not right away. That night she's picked up by a garbage scow and while she's physically in good health, she has complete amnesia. Her husband eventually notices she isn't around anymore, and figures out what happens. But upon arriving at the hospital and seeing his wife act just as horrid as ever, he decides to leave her there. Later when Dean sees her on the news, he decides to get some revenge... by claiming Joanne is his wife, Annie.

It's not as bad as it sounds.

He's a widower with four boys, and living as long as they have without a woman in the house as made them go, well, a little feral. So Dean's plan is to go to the hospital and tell the doctors Joanne is his wife, Annie, and get her to work off what she owes him.

Seriously, it's not as bad as it sounds.

The plan isn't sexual and Dean's only going to use Annie as maid service.

Okay, it's still pretty bad and if someone just can't get passed that setup, they will never be able to enjoy the movie. And that's a perfectly valid opinion. In fact, when I bought the film on DVD several years back, I had forgotten just how loathsome Dean's plan was. It really is emotionally manipulative, and when Annie has her big epiphany at the end, it feels like it's right on the edge of Stockholm Syndrome.

For those who can get passed that setup, they are in for a romantic comedy that has a lot of strengths. The two leads in the movie, Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn, are great in the movie and have very good chemistry together. And they are aided by a very strong supporting cast, including Edward Herrmann, Roddy McDowall, and Katherine Helmond. The writing and directing are good; however, even once you get passed the setup, the overall plot is still rather typical of the genre with a bit of 1980s sitcom hijinx thrown in.

The Extras

Here's where we get to the bad news. This Blu-ray is featureless, outside of the trailer, which I don't count as an extra. The video is substandard for a Blu-ray release, while within expectations for a relatively low-budget film that is nearing its 25th anniversary and the audio is 2.0. It is as bare bones a Blu-ray release as you can get. On the other hand, it does cost just $12 on

The Verdict

Overall, I think Overboard is a good film, but not a great film, and fans of romantic comedies in general, or of Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn in particular will want to check it out. The Blu-ray certainly doesn't do much to sell the format, and its price is the biggest selling point for upgrading to Blu-ray. Next year is the film's 25th anniversary, so maybe we will get a special edition Blu-ray with some extras and improved audio / video. On the other hand, if the price drops below $10 for this Blu-ray and there's still no announcement, then it's worth picking up.

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Filed under: Video Review, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Overboard