I'm one of those who quite liked the fact that Sarah Michelle Gellar was kicking the collective arse of the underworld when she was on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And when the show was starting on its way down to eventual demise, I resented the fact that she didn't seem to care much about the show anymore, and for what, so she could play nice spouse to husband Freddie Prinze Jr. (Scooby Doo)? Please. On the flip side though, you've got Alec Baldwin, who has been experiencing a bit of a career resurgence lately on the hit show 30 Rock. So with one star remaining in the news and another perhaps trying to get back, it's a wonder why the pair would get together in, of all things, a romantic comedy.
In said romantic comedy, Suburban Girl was directed by Marc Klein, late from writing other similar genre films like Serendipity and A Good Year, and adapted short stories from the Melissa Bank book The Girls' Guide to Hunting And Fishing to inspire this feature. Gellar plays Brett, an associate editor at a New York publishing company. She meets Archie (Baldwin), a well-respected man in the publishing sector in his own right. Archie is, well, older. Anyway, Brett tries to deal with the possible firestorm surrounding this relationship, both among her friends like Chloe (Maggie Grace, Lost), her boss at work Faye (Vanessa Branch, Pirates of the Caribbean), not to mention her mom (Jill Eikenberry, L.A. Law) and dad (James Naughton, The Devil Wears Prada).
Let me try to address what little good there is to the film, and to be honest, the dialogue and wordplay between Brett and Archie as their initial flirtation turns into something more is charming. But you can kind of see where things are heading, and much as I hate to turn over a chauvinist card here, it's a case where a hot young girl starts being romantic with a guy that's older than her, and in a sense starts to take on the characteristics of an older woman, though not in a good way. Now I'm told that the story is also supposed to show that Brett tries to grow up in this unique situation, but I just don't see it. Short of bringing Archie his slippers, a pipe and his pills, it seems like a perfectly bad situation that won't get better, no matter how much alcohol might be consumed by the viewer.
There are some moments from time to time that the cast generates a spark of chemistry, Gellar and Baldwin certainly do what they can to give the material a bit of a lift, but there are not enough coherent character motivations by either of them that makes you want to care about how their lives turn out after 97 minutes. There was a scene where Archie and Brett's father were sleeping on the couch after dinner at the folks house, and that was the only thing that made me laugh, in a film that was supposed to have comedy, and had a minimum of that. The romance? Ugh, it was like watching someone work out their daddy issues in front of a camera and pretend that it's cute and charming when it borders a little on the pervy side of things.
The Blu-ray Disc:
This is a pretty good looking 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. Using the AVC MPEG-4 codec, detail is extensive and the fleshtones are in good shape. Considering I wasn't expecting too much out of this film, I got a disc that looked better than I thought and even has a bit of depth in some of the exterior shots in and around New York. All in all this was a solid transfer.
Hey, what's this, a DTS HD audio option? Yeah, kind of surprising when you consider other recent films that seem to lack this type of spiffy soundtrack. The dialogue is well-rooted in the center channel, but don't expect an immersive experience to speak of, since this is a mainly dialogue-driven feature with an occasional song or two, all of which sound crystal clear with just the slightest hint of low end by the subwoofer. I hope Image continues this with some other, more active cinematic features down the road.
Not too many here, though Klein contributes a commentary on the disc all by himself. But it's actually a decent and lively track, where he discusses his intent for the track, and pitches in with some biographical information. He also contributes his fair share of production detail and trivia, along with some story and character dynamics. He cites Annie Hall several times on the film, so it's clear what his influences are, and he even talks about scenes that didn't make the final cut (or on the disc apparently). It's a worthy complement to those who are fans of the film. The only other extra to speak of here is the film's trailer.
Suburban Girl lacked a lot when it came to romance or comedy, resulting in an uncomfortable viewing experience by some people who want to try hard, and others who have appeared as the Orbitz girl and sport a fake British accent. Klein himself tends to cite romantic comedies in his own right, so there seems to be the tendency to compare yourself to others, and when you do, you're fair game in my book. Suburban Girl has simply been done better by better people, even if the tact that was taken is mildly different than the others. Having said that, you're better off with this film's predecessors.