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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Simple Life 2: Road Trip
Simple Life 2: Road Trip
Fox // Unrated // November 2, 2004
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted October 27, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

While nothing that will find its way into the television Hall of Fame, the second season of "The Simple Life" is a noticable improvement over the first attempt. Once again, long-time friends and rich socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie find themselves in Middle America - this time, they cross the country (from Miami to Beverly Hills) in a giant trailer, stopping along the way to meet with new families and take on new jobs in order to get enough cash to make it to the next stop.

The sequel works better in the way that it allows some greater variety than the original, which focused on the relationship between the two girls and the Leding family. The other difference for the second effort is that Richie gets most of the focus in the series, which makes for a much more entertaining experience at times. Approaching bad behavior with the kind of giddy enthusiasm a kid gets when they first learn bad words, Richie manages to curse at the dinner table of a religious family, get revenge on an irritating member of one of the families they're staying with and make up a dirty poem in a nudist colony, among other things.

The jobs that the two are faced with aren't too inspired again this time, although some of the bits are highlights: the two girls work with a minor league baseball team and end up getting kicked out; they try to trap crawfish, and when they screw that up, they fill the bag with crawfish Hilton swiped from a party the night before and finally, they participate in a cattle run and end up keeping one of the animals, who proceeds to hit Hilton in the final moments of the show.

Once again called a "reality" show, "The Simple Life 2" thankfully seems somewhat less scripted than the original, although there are still obviously moments that are staged and issues that are questionable - the girls don't seem to get paid very much by their jobs, and yet somehow get enough gas to cross the country, hitting empty only once on the show.

Out of the two "stars", Hilton remains the least interesting. Not saying as much this time around, Hilton mainly serves to provide reactions to Richie's antics and catchphrases - "loves it", "that's hot" and others. The girls also seem somewhat less mean than the original, even helping (well, in their own way) a couple of the people that they stay with along the way.

Although the third season seems doubtful (Hilton has reportedly expressed that she does not want to do it again), hopefully the girls will head from NYC to Los Angeles next time, driving across the Northern states. If the girls don't return, maybe the stars of MTV's short-lived "Rich Girls", Ally Hilfiger and Jamie Gleicher, could take over.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Simple Life 2" is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame for each of the episodes. The picture quality is generally very good, with no major concerns. Sharpness and detail are very pleasing, as the picture remains crisp and clear throughout, with only a couple of touches of softness.

The only issues with the presentation were the presence of some minor shimmering in some scenes and a couple of light traces of pixelation. No edge enhancement appeared, nor were there any instances of wear on the source material. Colors remained bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other issues.

SOUND: The show's Dolby 2.0 soundtrack provides a decent spread of music, along with clear dialogue and ambient sounds. Unfortunately, the show's wealth of goofy sound effects that accompany various events also return.

EXTRAS: We get thirty minutes of deleted scenes/outtakes from season 2 and season 1's "Lost Episode", which has the two girls working with the local taxidermist. There's also a promo for the first season of "Arrested Development", which hits DVD 10/19/04.

Final Thoughts: It's still "cotton candy" television and the term "reality" is a stretch, but "Simple Life 2" is better than the first, thanks to the fact that Richie takes center stage. Fox's DVD edition provides fine audio/video quality and a couple of decent supplements. Recommended for fans.

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