When I watch a movie, my expectations are very important. Some of my current favorite movies disappointed me initially and I answered no when asked if I liked them. It usually takes me a while to watch the movie again, accept it for what it is (instead of hoping the filmmakers had done better), and grow to love it.
In the case of Love Hurts, I expected nothing. I thought it was going to be stupid and boring but it had enough actors I’d heard of to make me curious about why they wanted to be involved in the project. Keeping in mind that my expectations couldn’t have been much lower, I was pleasantly surprised and am happy to give Love Hurts the rating of cute, and kind of funny. For romantic comedies, that’s a pretty solid recommendation.
Richard E. Grant stars as Ben Bingham, a seemingly happy Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor who lives with his wife Amanda (Carrie Ann-Moss) and son Justin (Johnny Pacar). Unfortunately for everyone Dr. Bingham has overlooked the fact that his wife is completely miserable. Her son’s planned departure for college gives Amanda the push she needs to leave her husband. When a patient tells the doctor his wife has been seeing a therapist, he assumes the cause is her relationship with her mother. After work he comes home to find the longest Dear John letter I’ve ever seen and his son to add to the details. Although Ben didn’t seem to notice much of what was going on with his life he sure cares that she is gone.
Ben deals with the loss of his wife in the usual fashion. He drinks a lot and sings along with Pat Benatar songs while wearing his wife’s scarf. When that phase passes he goes through a mid life crisis, getting Justin’s help in creating a new look and joining a gym. Once Ben looks a new man and the word gets out that he is available, this skinny not so handsome British guy gets more tail than someone from a boy band. Ben is oddly embraced by his son’s friends and learns he is awesome at X box, is attractive to the waitress at Fuddrucker’s and likes pot filled fudge.
Meanwhile Amanda has moved in with a friend and begins dating a nursery store owner with a pretty bad southern accent. My number one complaint about this movie was the boyfriend’s accent. I couldn’t understand him and found him terribly unlikable. A better casting choice was necessary in this case. Something simple leads Ben to realize that he’s been an idiot and he wants Amanda back. His son Johnny is ready and willing to help with the task. At the same time, Johnny falls in love with a random girl in a restaurant and needs his father’s help as well. Both parents are reminded that they raised a good son and they had a lot of good years together.
Love Hurts doesn’t have Oscar worthy writing, acting, or anything else. If you are expecting a masterpiece you will be seriously disappointed. It does have some funny party, some cute parts and adds up to a pretty enjoyable hour and a half. Supporting actors include Jenna Elfman, Janeane Garofolo and Camryn Manheim. Some of those supporting roles are insignificant enough that I question why they got their names on the front of the box. My guess is that the person who makes those decisions thought that they should list every person you might have heard of.
This anamorphic wide-screen (1.85:1) isn’t the best quality to be found on DVD. Although flesh tones are natural looking, the black levels aren’t as consistently dark as they should be. Details isn’t very sharp either and the picture suffers from pixelation issues throughout as well. Even though this is a DVD the quality should be better than this.
There is absolutely nothing special going on with the audio. It is a romantic comedy. No explosions, no ghost whispering in your ear or anything that would even make you notice the audio. It’s adequate, not special in any way. The DVD offers only an English language track, and English SDH subtitles. It’s Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound but there is nothing noticeably excellent about it.
For a pretty good movie, this DVD has some pretty lame features. They go from weird to weirder and are not well put together. Normally I would complain that there are only three special features, one of which is a trailer so that barely counts. The two main special features are so bad I think it is good there are only two.
- Trailer – The trailer showcases an extremely weird moment where the throat patient talks with a plastic thing holding her mouth open. It seems to showcase the peculiar moments in the film and I’m undecided if it would have made me want to watch Love Hurts.
- Cast and Crew Interviews – The questions are written on the screen and then the actors answer them. This begs the question, who asked the questions to begin with and why couldn’t we just hear that person ask the questions. It even starts with a still photo of each actor along with their name. This reminds me of a memorial thing – like a date the actor died should appear under their photo.
- Behind the Scenes – This is one of the oddest special features I have scene. It’s almost as if a stalker snuck onto the set and secretly taped the filming of the movie. Often the actors are talking to each other and you can’t hear what they are saying, you are watching a scene from the movie from a terrible viewpoint or the director is talking out of context. Watching this adds nothing to the experience of watching the movie and I would recommend skipping it.
While I had low expectations of the movie itself, I think it’s unfair to expect much in the way of audio or video quality in a romantic comedy on DVD so the final score is higher than you might imagine based on my other ratings. The special features just need to be ignored. Love Hurts is both predictable and unique at the same time and I think it’s worth watching. If romantic comedies and “chick flicks” are not your thing just skip it. If it is your cup of tea, you might be surprised and enjoy it.
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