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Anchor Bay's February '05 Releases

Bye Bye Love (March 9/05)

It's not difficult to see why, upon its theatrical release in 1995, Bye Bye Love was slammed by both audiences and critics. The film - written by two television veterans, Gary David Goldberg and Brad Hall - has the feel of a sitcom (complete with wacky misunderstandings and cheesy jokes), though the performances are a whole lot better than standard small-screen fare. Revolving around three divorced men (played by Paul Reiser, Matthew Modine, and Randy Quaid), the movie follows their day-to-day lives as they attempt to cope with their newly-single status. It's clear almost immediately that Bye Bye Love is going for a Parenthood sort of vibe (combining comedy and drama, while exploring similar issues), and while there are a few elements that feel authentic (ie Reiser's relationship with his rebellious teenaged daughter), they're generally lost underneath the rampant silliness with which Goldberg and Hall have peppered their script. And while there are a few laughs to be had, there's not much here worth recommending - though Quaid delivers a performance that's unexpectedly complex, making it difficult not to wish that the rest of the film had been similarly intriguing.

out of

Modern Problems (March 20/05)

Painfully unfunny, mean-spirited comedy revolving around a man (played by Chevy Chase) who receives the ability to move things with his mind following an encounter with a truckload of nuclear waste; much supposed hilarity ensues. Modern Problems fails on virtually every level it attempts, from the jokes to the performances to the film's look (which is muddy, washed out, and generally unpleasant). Exacerbating matters is Chase's performance, which is incredibly obnoxious even by his standards. Director Ken Shapiro - who hasn't helmed a movie since, not surprisingly - does an awful job of keeping things interesting, peppering the film with pointless subplots and poorly developed comedic bits.

out of

Project X (March 20/05)

Though nobody will ever accuse it of redefining the adventure genre, Project X is nevertheless an extremely enjoyable (albeit entirely unbelievable) romp involving chimps, over-the-top bad guys and Matthew Broderick. Broderick plays Jimmy, a hot-shot military pilot who's transferred to an experimental project after stealing a jet (!) to impress a girl. There he meets Virgil, an extremely smart chimp who knows sign language thanks to his previous owner, a grad student named Teri (Helen Hunt). But when Jimmy learns that Virgil is set to be exposed to lethal doses of radiation as part of the project, he must team up with Teri to secure the chimp's freedom. Project X is peppered with an extraordinary amount of implausible plot developments, yet it's easy enough to suspend one's disbelief thanks primarily to the film's brisk pace and Broderick's exceedingly ingratiating performance.

out of

The Specials (March 17/05)

Sporadically entertaining but mostly silly, The Specials revolves around a squad of superheroes who seem to spend all their time arguing with one another - instead of, you know, saving the world. The film suffers from a screenplay that generally emphasizes jokes that aren't all that funny, though there are a couple of admittedly humorous moments (ie nobody can pronounce Minute Man's name properly, even though his super power is that he can shrink). The cast - which includes Rob Lowe, Jamie Kennedy, and Thomas Haden Church - does an admirable job of remaining straight faced through some of the more ludicrous elements in James Gunn's script, while the film's curious lack of special effects never becomes quite as distracting as it could have. But the bottom line is that the whole production just feels too low-key to really warrant a recommendation; the film's easy enough to sit through, though it'll be almost instantly forgotten once the credits begin to roll.

out of

About the DVDs: Each of the films arrives on DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment, who presents them in their proper theatrical aspect ratio. For all but The Specials, extra features are limited to a trailer and some television spots. The Specials, on the other hand, is a full-fledged special edition, and comes armed with an impressive array of supplemental materials (including two commentary tracks, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes photos, and much more).
© David Nusair