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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » PIGS
PIGS
ThinkFilm // R // November 27, 2007
List Price: $27.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by David Cornelius | posted December 22, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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"Pigs" is a T&A comedy that doesn't really want to be a T&A comedy, so much so that around halfway through, it completely stops trying to join the "Porky's"/"American Pie" frat, instead opting for gentler charms of romantic comedy. What we're left with is a movie that's too nice to be gross and too gross to be nice.

Consider the premise: a big man on campus gets talked into a wager that leaves him trying to sleep with the entire alphabet (that is, 26 women whose last names begin with each letter) before the end of the school year - and he has to provide photographic evidence of each deed. Add in the film's title, and you have the opportunity for campus vulgarity at its sleaziest, with our hero smooth-talking his way into 26 beds in record time.

Now consider the leading man: Jefferson Brown, a young up-and-comer with a beaming personality, the kind of guy everyone wants to hang out with. As our resident horndog, he's all wrong for the role; there should be something about this guy that we hate, right? But there's nothing unpleasant about Brown, and the filmmakers know it. They make his character, Miles, a nice guy right from the start. And that's the crucial flaw in the film - we'd believe that Miles could easily land all these ladies, but we'd never believe he'd dump them so cruelly afterward.

By the time the movie takes a massive tonal shift at the halfway mark, it's already lost us as an audience - worse so because the film makes great efforts to rush through its set-up, offering too many shortcuts (the real bet comes down to a mere three letters, as they "grandfather clause" Miles' previous conquests into the bet) and too much lack of interest (it zips through things so quickly that the bet's almost over within twenty minutes).

But those who do stick around will be rewarded, as the whole thing greatly improves. The plot is overly predictable - Miles' last conquest is to find a gal initialed "X," and wouldn't ya know it, once he does, he falls in love with her, and would going through with the bet betray his newfound decency? - yet this hardly matters, as the whole thing has a certain charm that works doubletime to win us over. Miles and Gabrielle (Melanie Marden) make a lovely couple, and Brown and screenwriters Karl DiPelino (who also directed) and Chris Ragonetti find little comic moments to sprinkle throughout to make the character a sweet guy. Watch when Miles arrives to pick up Gabrielle for their first date; he bumbles his way through the whole scene, and we pause to wonder, where has this movie been for the past half hour?

DiPelino and Ragonetti, both making their feature debuts here, realize this is enough for the movie, so they toss in subplots involving a bookish roommate (Christopher Elliott) who also has a crush on Gabriella and a Stifler-esque pal (Darryn Lucio) whose persistent wagering puts him in trouble with some of the tough guys in the dorm. The latter exists to keep the T&A laughs on tap throughout the script's mellower bits (he's given the mid-movie duties of getting barfed on during sex), while the former is included for some easy conflict. But it creates an impossible scenario for the characters - if Miles steals Gabrielle from Ben, our hero becomes too much of a jerk; if Ben gets revenge, he loses any sympathy we had for the guy. The script manages to work this out as best it can, but even at its best, it never comes across as anything more than storytelling shortcuts that never entirely click.

But again, it all comes back to matters of tone. I'd love to see the same cast and crew make the movie they really wanted, a quieter, more honest teen comedy. They show they can hit those notes with ease. But they don't hit them enough here, not when they're scrambling to maintain the very T&A sensibilities that seem to leave them restless.

The DVD

Video & Audio


"Pigs" was shot on a very limited budget, which explains the fair amount of grain present throughout in this anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) transfer. Color levels look very good here, however, and considering how well this film was photographed despite its limitations, the transfer does this one justice.

The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is restrained but always clear, even when the constant rock music threatens to overpower the rest. A passable 2.0 track is also available, as are optional English and Spanish subtitles.

Extras

DiPelino, Ragonetti, Brown, and Lucio team up for a very enjoyable commentary track. It turns out the movie was filmed years ago, so there's enough distance between the crew and the film to make this a little livelier than most tracks.

Six deleted scenes (5:55 total) add very little to the story; they're decent moments, but it's understandable why they were cut.

Hope you like Canadian comics/rockers Sons of Butcher, because they're everywhere in the rest of the extras. (They also provided all the songs for the movie, so they're everywhere, period.) We begin with "Set Etiquette with Jay Ziebarth" (3:48) follows the Sons of Butcher member as he clowns around on set, with most of the gags being of the "I guess you had to be there" variety.

The band provides a tune for "Whip 'Em Out: Pigs Unrated Auditions" (2:40), an extra with its own backstory: ThinkFilm was unhappy that the filmmakers turned in a sex comedy without a single frame of nudity, and the studio asked them to shoot some new footage. DiPelino was against this, but they did agree to a visual punchline - one single close-up breast shot. For this, they had to hold auditions, and this is a montage of that boob-tastic footage.

"Pigs Outtakes" (6:26) is half montage of on-set zaniness (set, once more, to an SOB song) and half blooper reel.

"The Making of Pigs" (2:14) is even more useless - it's another montage of on-set shenanigans, again set to an SOB tune.

You'll find the video for a rather tiresome SOB song as an Easter egg.

The film's trailer and a collection of other ThinkFilm previews round out the set. The previews also play as the disc loads; you can skip past them if you choose.

The deleted scenes and a few of the ThinkFilm previews are presented in non-anamorphic letterbox; all other extras are presented in anamorphic widescreen.

Final Thoughts

Although "Pigs" is too jumbled to truly hit its mark, there are enough good moments here that those looking for a fluffy campus comedy would do fine to Rent It.
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