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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Missing Brendan
Missing Brendan
Other // Unrated // October 26, 2004
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Shannon Nutt | posted December 14, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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THE MOVIE

Ed Asner stars as George Calden, the father of three sons – one which was lost during the Vietnam war. Missing Brendan tells the story about how George gets his two living sons – one of them a successful businessman who dodged the draft (Richard Cox) and the other who went to war, but still has deep emotional scars from it (Robin Thomas) – to fly him back to Vietnam where the military believes they have found the spot where Brendan's plane went down during the war.

Also along for the ride is The OC's Adam Brody, who is playing a character so similar to Seth Cohen (the character he plays on The OC) that it made me wonder if this is the only type of character Brody is capable of playing. The most thankless role in Missing Brendan goes to Illeana Douglas, who plays an archeologist that helps the men search for Brendan's remains. She seems out of place in the movie, and the fact that her character only exists for exposition purposes doesn't help matters much.

Of course – in case you haven't already guessed – along the way, the father and his two sons come to terms about what happened to Brendan, and learn more about each other along the way. In other actors' hands, this would all seem very melodramatic and sappy, but Asner, Cox and Thomas (and Brody as well) are all solid enough in their performances that they prevent Missing Brendan from sinking into "Movie Of The Week" territory…but only barely.

The box cover and advertising for the movie seems determined to push the film as a family drama – and it certainly is that, but parents should be warned…even though the film is unrated, there's enough strong language in the film to garner an R-Rating…or, at the very least, a PG-13.

THE DVD

Video:
Missing Brendan is presented in anamorphic widescreen at the 1.78:1 ratio. The picture has a somewhat "soft" look to it, and I saw numerous incidents of dirt on the print. Overall, a pretty average transfer – but at least viewers weren't given a pan and scan version or a non-anamorphic one.

Audio:
The audio is presented in 2.0 Dolby, and that's more than enough to serve this movie well. There's not a lot of action in the film – which tends to be dialogue-heavy, so anything better than a 2.0 track would really be unnecessary.

Extras:
File this under the "What were they thinking?" category. There are no extras here whatsoever. Okay – that's not so unusual for a movie of this sort. But there are no menus or chapter stops either! That's right folks, Missing Brendan gives you the "full VHS" experience…you put the movie in, the movie plays, the movie ends!

THE BOTTOM LINE

Assuming you don't expect too much and think you might be interested in the story, Missing Brendan makes for good rental material. It's pretty low budget and not particularly well-written (it tends to be very clichéd), but the actors do their best with what they are given, and at least it tries to be about something – which far too many films don't even seem to bother with anymore.
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