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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Never a Dull Moment
Never a Dull Moment
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // G // July 6, 2004
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted August 9, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Dick Van Dyke is a great comedic actor.  He is able to preform pratt falls and physical comedy and make it look easy, and he has a good sense of timing with verbal humor.  He's probably best known for "The Dick Van Dyke Show" for which he won three Emmy Awards, but he also had a respectable movie career starring in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and co-starring in Disney's Mary Poppins.  Van Dykes' third movie for Disney (after Poppins and the forgetable Lt. Robinson Caruso USN) was Never a Dull Moment, a minor film that never quite lives up to expectations.

Jack Albany (Dick Van Dyke) is a low rent actor who only gets bit parts.  After a filming a TV show one evening, Jack is walking home and thinks he's being followed.  He ducks into a door where he meets Florian (Tony Bill) a thug who mistakes Jack for the hired killer that he's been waiting for; Ace Williams.  Jack tries to explain the misunderstanding, but when Florian pulls a knife in him, he decides that it's safer to be Ace Williams, for a while at least.  Florian takes him to see Joe Smooth (Edward G. Robinson,) the leader of the local mob.  Smooth has hired a cadre of top grade cooks, including Ace, to help him rob an art museum.  After Smooth reveals his plans, he locks everyone in his mansion until it's time for the heist.  Jack tries desperately to escape, but all his attempts come to naught.  Jack is worried that he's going to be forced to aid in the robbery, but his troubles grow more immediate when the real Ace Williams turns up.

In addition to Dick Van Dyke and Edward G. Robinson, this movie has a wonderful supporting cast:  Dorothy Provine, Henry Silva, Jack Elam, and Slim Pickens all do a great job.  Unfortunately they are all saddled with a very mediocre script, making the movie less than exciting.

Despite its title, this movie does have a dull moment.  Several of them.  The movie takes a long time to actually go anywhere, and there are very few jokes included along the way.  Most of the movie consists of scenes that have potetial, but just don't live up to it.  When Joe is getting his art lesson for example.  It just wasn't funny.  There are a some humorous situations, like when Jack pretends to be drunk and the robbery at the end, but they just don't pay off.  The humor seems forced and not naturally flowing, and there are only a few chuckles through out the entire film..  None of the scenes are as funny as they should be, and much to predictable, even for a Disney film.

There are several things that just didn't make sense in the movie either.  At one point Jack has to kill a man, while the rest of the gang watches.  He nervously taps the man on the shoulder, who instantly falls to the ground, cementing Jack's reputation as an amazing killer.  But they never bother to explain why the tap knocks the man out, or if he was just faking it.  Yes, this is a family movie, but I was expecting a much better script with fewer holes in the plot.

The DVD:


Audio:

This movie is presented with a two channel mono soundtrack.  The DVD sounds appropriate for a late 60's film, while not dynamic, the dialog is easy to understand and the music is crisp.

Video:

Disney has released this film in an anamorphic widescreen format preserving its original aspect ratio.  The image is a bit on the dark side with some details being lost in the dark scenes.  This doesn't ruin the film, and it looks very good otherwise.  Details is fine, and the picture is fairly sharp.  The image is also free of spots and scratches.  Disney did a good job on the transfer, with digital defects being at a minimum.

Extras:

The only extra is the theatrical trailer.

Final Thoughts:

While this movie sports a great supporting cast and the wonderful Dick Van Dyke it just doesn't quite work.  Though the script starts with a good premise, it just doesn't pay off.  There aren't many jokes, and very few laughs.  While the audio and image on this DVD are very good, most viewers would be best off making this one a rental.

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