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The Dinner Game

review by Zach B.

Rated PG-13

Studio: Universal

Running Time: 81 minutes

Starring Thierry Lhermitte, Jacques Villeret, Francis Huster, Daniel Prevost, Alexandra Vandernoot and Chaterine Frot

Written and Directed by Francis Veber

Retail Price: $24.99

Features: Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Chapter Search (20 Chapters)

"The Dinner Game" is hilarious French comedy which did win 3 Ceasers, the French equivilant to an Academy Award®. The plot is so simple but becomes so complex. The script is very funny and the acting is superb. I was personally surprised "The Dinner Game" didn't get nominated for an Oscar® a few years back, I'm not even sure if France picked it to represent the country.

"The Dinner Game" starts out with the sucessful Pierre who every Wedensday night holds a cruel game to see who can bring the stupidest guest to dinner. However, he hurts his back during a golf game and can barley move, but he still wants to attend his game. His wife argues how cruel the game is and then leaves him. Yet then, Pierre's guest shows up before the dinner (he invited him earlier) and all wackiness breaks loose.

To say what wackiness would give away the whole film, because one thing sets off another. Everything ties together so nicely. I saw this movie in the theater and I loved it, but I feel it is a tad bit overrated. I wouldn't call it a four star movie as so many critics said, but it's definently an excellent film and one of the best foreign films out there. This is not a drama, it's a zany farce. I know some of you out there can't stand subtitles, but if you sit yourself down, you'll enjoy this screwball comedy. If there's anything wrong with the movie, it's that it's ridiculousy short, clocking in at about an hour and twenty minutes. Still, it gets the job done and again, the movie ties everything together nicely. Be sure to check out "The Dinner Game", it's an excellent comedy... a lot better than a lot of American schlock.

"The Dinner Game" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Most comedies are not filmed that wide, but I think it's a nice touch because there are some nice exterior shots. This is a great Universal transfer. Debris and specks appear a good amount of times, but detail is very good as well as black levels. Colors are solid and vibrant, but they seem to be a little oversaturated. All in all, this is a great transfer.

Though originally this movie was supposed to include an English dub track, thankfully, it doesn't and just has the original French language track in 2.0. Surrounds are pretty good and it is a pretty loud track. The movie is pretty dialogue based, but there is some action in a lot of key scenes and the track makes good use of that. This is a great surround track. English subtitles are burned in on the image.

The only extra is a Theatrical Trailer, in 2.0 sound and switches aspect ratios. It's a nicely done trailer.

While Universal did not distribute the movie in theaters (Lions Gate did), I'm glad they stepped in and released it on DVD, because for a good while, it looked like "The Dinner Game" would never make it to video. This is a great comedy, and Universal has made a nice release, despite the lack of features. Don't let the subtitles bother you, this is a very funny movie I reccomend that everyone sees.

(3.5/5 - NOT included in final score)




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