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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Favor
The Favor
MGM // R // December 26, 2001
List Price: $14.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 28, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Another MGM release that was taken from the financially troubled Orion, "The Favor" was originally produced in 1991, then finally dusted off for a theatrical release three years later, where it headed to video shelves shortly after. While not a particularly terrible feature, there's little to distinguish it from all of the rest of the romantic genre.

The film stars Harley Jane Kozak as Kathy, who is becoming a bit bored with her marriage to Peter (Bill Pullman). The two have kids and, it seems, a fairly normal thing going. Yet, she can't help wonder what ever happened to her old high school boyfriend and she's also fascinated with the situation that her high school friend (Elizabeth McGovern), who is running an art gallery and is seeing Elliot (an early performance from Brad Pitt).

Soon, Kathy begs her friend to do a simple favor - since she's now single and going back to their hometown, she asks her friend to go back to her hometown and look up her old boyfriend to see what she's missing. A bit after, she decides that her simply seeing him is not enough - she wants her to go a bit further to see what she's been missing.

She comes back with a very positive report, leading Kathy to break down her friendship and her relationship in order to find out what's going on. "The Favor" is directed by Donald Petrie, ("Mystic Pizza" and more recently, "Miss Congeniality") and the film is similar to his other efforts; there's little personality or edge to the proceedings, and what successful moments the film does have are largely due to moments that the stars provide - unfortunately, no one really shines here.

The comedy isn't entirely successful, either - offered with a decent amount of energy, but not quick timing or sharp delivery. The dialogue, by collaborators Sara Parriott and Josann McGibbon, is one of the few elements that make the film watchable, as, while the comedy isn't terrific and turns further into slapstick as it goes on, there are some bright moments here and there. That sums up the film - there's a few bright moments, but there's not enough to make this worth recommending.


The DVD

VIDEO: MGM presents "The Favor" in both 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and pan & scan, each housed on opposite sides of a dual-sided disc. The presentation is one of the better catalog releases that I've looked at from MGM this week - while certainly not without a few minor flaws, the picture is at least fairly clean, moderately clear and satisfyingly sharp and crisp.

As previously noted, the film at least seems largely clean and clear. Print flaws are visible on occasion, with little specks and marks briefly appearing. These aren't terribly distracting or noticable, though - considering the film is nine years old, I wasn't too displeased by the few instances of wear. The presentation was also free of edge enhancement or pixelation.

The film's color palette is rather bland, but colors seemed accurate and natural, with no smearing or other problems. Black level seemed slightly weak and flesh tones generally natural. Good, but not great.

SOUND: The film's 2.0 soundtrack is an uneventful affair, with only the basic mixture of music and dialogue, no more - no less. Audio quality remained satisfying as the music had a slight kick to it, while dialogue sounded natural and clear.

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

EXTRAS: The trailer.

Final Thoughts: "The Favor" has a few funny moments, but most of it turns into a long 90 minutes. MGM's DVD offers respectable audio/video quality, but nothing in the way of supplements. Rent it.

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