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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » 'Til There Was You
'Til There Was You
Paramount // PG-13 // December 4, 2001
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 8, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

A light-weight romance that was quickly breezed out of the box office a couple of years prior, "Til There Was You" is a little romantic comedy that follows the usual conventions of the genre. It's one of those films that attempts to have the characters barely miss each other, but the little twists and sub-plots seem choreographed and the structure visible and creaky. The audience is asked to trail bland characters as they jump through hoops to get to an obvious payoff two long hours later.

The film often seems like a picture that was compiled from the scraps of other movies of the genre. We have flashbacks, stereotypical characters and dialogue and other elements that are rather awkwardly pieced together and the result feels fractured. The plot pieces: a former sitcom star (Sarah Jessica Parker) owns a little apartment complex which is about to be replaced by a more modern one. She begins to dare the architect (Dylan McDermott). Meanwhile, there's a ghost writer (Jeanne Tripplehorn) who finds herself meeting the architect, if to stop the destruction of the building that she also lives in.

Meanwhile, the ghost writer is attempting to write the biography of the former child star, bringing the writer and architect, who are destined (according to the picture, at least) together. The film's severe flaw is that we couldn't care less about either of the main characters, as the film's supporting cast is actually more entertaining. McDermott is particularly bland, while Tripplehorn has never demonstrated herself capable of comedy.

It's the characters on the edges that entertain. An early Jennifer Aniston plays Debbie, the friend of the Tripplehorn character. Shuttled in and out of the picture for a few minor moments at a time, her sweet presence quickly shines through. Sarah Jessica Parker is one of the only true bright spots in the picture; she's fun, spunky and energetic - the only person in this entire enterprise who seems to care one bit about what's happening.

When there isn't anything at the core of a picture like this, when we have two people who clearly share no chemistry, it makes the film's following 114 minutes particularly tedious to have to sit through. "Til There Was You" does have a few bright spots, but they're really few and far between. There's sort of an interesting basic plot, but we're presented with dissapointing situations and weak performances from the leads, many of whom seem to be connected in the simple way that they all smoke and are lonely.


The DVD

VIDEO: Paramount presents the film in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. While there are a few minor flaws here and there throughout the picture, they didn't take away too much. Sharpness and detail are simply good, but not quite great. The film appears ever-so-slightly dark, but I believe it looked this way in the theater, as well.

Slight flaws appeared at a moderate rate. Print flaws were not major, but I spotted several little specks during the course of the picture and a mark or two, as well. Light edge enhancement and a few very tiny traces of pixelation were also seen. One or two scenes also displayed a little bit of grain.

SOUND: The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. There's little activity beyond the center channel, as the film focuses almost completely on dialogue. The score occasionally lightly inhabits the front main speakers and slightly drifts from the surrounds, but otherwise, there's little else going on - not even some slight ambience. Audio quality is satisfactory, if not exceptional in any way.

MENUS:: Basic, non-animated menus that essentially use film-themed images and cover art.

EXTRAS:: The only extra is a trailer.

Final Thoughts: "Til There Was You" is a fairly dismal picture whose only bright spot is Sarah Jessica Parker - not because it's a particularly great part, but because she's really the only one here who seems to at least care somewhat. Paramount's DVD edition isn't anything beyond basic - not that this film deserved a special edition. Skip it.

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