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The Brothers

review by Ren C.

Rated R

Studio: Columbia/Tristar

Running Time: 102 minutes

Starring Morris Chestnut, D.L. Hughley, Bill Bellamy, Shemar Moore

Written and Directed by Gary Hardwick

Retail Price: $24.95

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Gary Hardwick, "The Brothers: A Conversation with Gary Hardwick" Featurette, Deleted Scenes with optional audio commentary by Director Gary Hardwick, Eric Benet Music Video, Theatrical Trailers, Filmographies

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Scene Selections

When it was released in the spring of 2001, "The Brothers" quickly became a sleeper hit. There are several reasons for this, but the main reason goes above the ideas of "race movie" or "guy bonding movie." This is, quite simply, a well-written and well-acted movie.

In the age of irony, a movie such as "The Brothers" that in many ways looks very frankly at relationships and the people in them stands out. The movie revolves around the titular "Brothers", each approaching thirty, and each a professional of some type. Jackson (Morris Chestnut) has nightmares about a woman in a wedding dress with a gun, standing in for his fear of love and commitment. Derrick (D.L. Hughley) is already married, but is going through some major problems in his relationship. Brian (Bill Bellamy) is the immature member of the group, going from woman to woman and never finding happiness. Terry (Shemar Moore) is the only member of the group to actually do something about growing up, proposing to his girlfriend BeBe (Susan Dalian).

This is the situation at the beginning of the movie, and from here the movie goes on a very winding road of families and relationships, but always coming back to the core of "The Brothers". Jackson meets a girl named Gabrielle (Danielle Union), who he thinks may be the one. This motivates the rest of the men to shake up their lives as well, with Derrick's wife leaving him, Brian starting to take account of his life, and Terry questioning whether he wants to be with BeBe forever. Through all of this however, "The Brothers" remain a tight unit, and start to see that it is up to them to both get each other through the drama, and to grow up.

This movie actually surprised me by how deep it was. I was expecting a comedy that was very surface-level, and what I got was almost a romantic film about four men learning the meaning of being in love. I want to compare the film to "Waiting to Exhale", although this film is a lot less mean-spirited and actually has the men take responsibility for a lot of their actions. A great supporting cast is also in place here, with Marla Gibbs, Tatyana Ali and Tamala Jones all playing smart, interesting roles. This is actually a fairly intelligent movie, and not one that should be overlooked by those interested in romantic comedies.

The anamorphic transfer for this movie looks really good, and holds up to all of the expectations that I have for such a recent release. Colors are bold without any bleeding, and black levels are deep and rich. There is no noticeable grain on the transfer, and no artifacts are apparent. On the whole, this is a very good transfer.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix here also stands up quite well. Perhaps the most noticeable sound related thing in the movie is its deep, bass-filled soundtrack, which definitely used the full potential of the 5.1 mix and filled the room whenever it came on. However, this never overshadowed dialogue, with only one scene where dialogue was slightly hard to decipher. Ambient sounds were used well, and overall this was a very nice mix.

Columbia has definitely put together a nice set of features for this release. Starting off, we have the Director's Commentary with Gary Hardwick. Definitely not a groundbreaking commentary, Hardwick seems fairly restricted to explaining the plot and pointing out what is happening on-screen. I would have liked a commentary from "the Brothers" themselves, but this is certainly a nice addition.

Next up is the Featurette, which is a conversation with Hardwick intercut with scenes from the movie. Not quite promotional, but not quite groundbreaking either, Hardwick talks about writing the screenplay, casting, and a number of other factors that play into the making of the movie. Clocking in at about twenty-two minutes, this is a nice interview, but probably something that'll only be watched once.

A set of four Deleted Scenes are included, three of which come with director's commentary. These scenes mostly deal with the families of "The Brothers", and while all of them are fairly interesting, I can understand why they would have been cut for time.

An Eric Benet Music Video is included for the song "Love Don't Love Me", which is the standard Hype Williams video cut together with clips from the movie. Fairly catchy song, though.

Columbia was nice enough to include plenty of Theatrical Trailers here as well, including the trailer for the Brothers, along with Wedding Planner, My Best Friend's Wedding, Broken Hearts Club-A Romantic Comedy, Trois, and John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars. A series of short Filmographies of the director and main cast round out the features.

As I stated before, this is a very nice romantic comedy that shouldn't be lightly overlooked. Audio and video are top-notch, and the features, while not groundbreaking, are mildly enjoyable. Columbia/Tristar has priced this title nicely, and I have no problem giving it a recommendation.

(3.5/5 - NOT included in final score)




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