Dateline! 2001. Everyone was groaning that the price of gas had risen all the way up to a buck and change a gallon, thirteen year old girls were still going batshit over boy bands, and cameras started rolling on The Mallory Effect, the first real acting role by supermodel Josie Maran. Okay, now flash forward six years. The sticker price on gas has more than tripled, I...don't even know what those damnfool kids are listening to anymore, and...hey, The Mallory Effect! The movie never did pick up a distributor to give it so much as a blink-and-you-woulda-missed-it theatrical run, but it did finally limp onto DVD in '07. After years of making the online rounds with no sign of the flick in sight, here I sit with The Mallory Effect at long last in my grubby little hands, and...wow, that was kind of a waste of time.
Okay, so I can relate to the plot: some sociopathic nutjob is stalking Josie Maran. Mallory (the
lovelyno, incandescent Ms. Maran) dumped her creepy boyfriend Charlie (Steven Roy) on Valentine's Day, and even three years later, he still hasn't managed to let go. Charlie goes ballistic when he spots Mallory out one night with Curtis (Scott Hanks), the new guy in her life. I mean, not only is she screwing someone else, but the guy's got a moustache. It's more than Charlie can stomach...we're talking about the moustache here...so he pretends to be a friend of a friend from Seattle named Stuart and becomes best pals with Curtis. The idea's to worm his way inside Curtis' life and sabotage his relationship with Mallory from the inside, sending her running in tears (and slow motion, right?) back into his creepy, waiting arms.
I really wanted to like The Mallory Effect -- promise! -- but casting one of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous women to ever walk the planet is about the only thing the movie does right. The whole concept of a completely unlikeable creep stalking a kinda-sorta-ex-girlfriend seems like first-timer Dustin Guy is warming over There's Something About Mary's leftovers, and it fumbles juggling that same sort of quirkiness with its
vulgar sense of humor.
Too many of the gags rely on lazy shock value: telling a dumpy schoolkid to fuck off, barking at some sweet old lady that she's a whore with shit oozing out of her mouth, and...well, pretty much all of the sex chatter. Mostly courtesy of Charlie's nymphomaniac pal Nick (Sean Marble), The Mallory Effect dishes out conversations about dry-mouth blowjobs, vaginal exercises, pretty much every bodily fluid and orifice you could rattle off... Nick even has Charlie pull up a chair and watch him screw his latest kinky conquest. Hell, at one point, Charlie's sniffing underwear off Curtis' floor and scrubbing his dong with a toothbrush he stumbles upon in the bathroom. I'm not turned off by vulgarity or anything, but The Mallory Effect doesn't really do or say anything that funny with it.
The dialogue's cringingly bad at times. "What's happening to you, Charlie? You've got a douche up your ass. Do you even have a penis? Oh, you do." Mocking in front of a mirror: "I have a moustache. I'm pretty! Goobee-goobee-goobee-goo!" I could spout off more examples, but I was too lazy to jot down any more than that. The Mallory Effect tries to throw in kind of a quirky sense of humor too, like its violent hatred of moustaches, Charlie having a heart-to-heart with his buck-nekkid best friend, and hissing "I'll fucking kill you" to Curtis through a bathroom stall, but none of that really works either.
Okay, I'd rather watch The Mallory Effect again than something like Tomcats or Say It Isn't So. At least I feel like it's trying, even if The Mallory Effect never really scores much of a laugh. Y'know, that, plus the whole Josie Maran being a goddess thing. I really was looking forward to this flick for a long, long time, but I'm kinda disappointed that I have to say Skip It.
The Mallory Effect packs on two cuts of the movie, by the way: the version that made the festival rounds a while back and the director's cut. Strangely, the director's cut actually clocks in a few minutes shorter than the theatrical release. I thought I spotted a couple of additional lines of dialogue here and there, but the only difference that really stood out to me was a fantasy bit with Charlie whacking off to some cheeseball naughty nurse porno.
Video: Producer Bobby Salomon brags in the disc's extras about how slick The Mallory Effect looks, shot on 35mm film stock by a seasoned lighting and camera crew spanning a couple of countries. That...yeah, really doesn't come through in this lousy looking DVD, though. This is a letterboxed, non-anamorphic disc, so off the top, it's chucking out a third of the resolution a properly mastered DVD would serve up.
The theatrical cut of the movie is flagged so that the non-anamorphic image will at least fill the screen, but the lack of resolution still makes it a drag to watch. Muddy contrast, heavy aliasing, a lack of fine detail, dull colors...The Mallory Effect is just flat, bland, and lifeless, looking more like something I'd catch on one of those random Starz channels on digital cable than a shiny, newly minted DVD. There's some visible ringing around edges too, and at least while giving it a whirl on my PlayStation 3, the image was riddled by a bunch of tiny, very digital-looking white specks. I've never seen anything quite like that before.
The director's cut is windowboxed and dwarfed by the black bars on all sides, coming across like some random Divx file I downloaded off Rapidshare or something. My kneejerk reaction is that the director's cut looks worse than the theatrical version, almost as if it's a really low-res Avid export that's not really meant for public consumption, but that could just be because it's rendered in such a tiny, tiny window.
This is really just a sub-standard effort all around.
Audio: The monaural Dolby Digital track on the director's cut is passable but sounds like I'm piping the audio through the built-in speakers on my TV instead of an overpriced home theater rig. The stereo soundtrack on the theatrical cut is a lot better though, with the music sounding pretty full-bodied and the dialogue clean and clear. I mean, it's nothin' for me to ramble on about for another couple paragraphs but decent enough.
There aren't any dubs or subtitles this time around, for anyone keeping track at home.
Extras: The Mallory Effect shrugs off pretty much all of the usual stuff: no deleted scenes, no gag reel, no interviews with the cast, and no behind the scenes footage. Most of the extras are newly produced, and only producer Bobby Salomon and writer/director Dustin Guy show up for any of 'em.
The best of the extras has Salomon and Guy interviewing each other for twenty minutes. Going against what you'd probably stroll in expecting, Salomon seems to have a lot more to say, while the movie's writer/director gets a good bit less screentime and seems to be much more heavily edited. They field a couple dozen questions between them, including a runthrough what their roles were in getting The Mallory Effect off the ground, which of the movie's actresses is foxier, what they're working on now, which characters they identify with the most, and what they'd change if they could roll back the clock after all these years.
The commentary with the two of 'em really doesn't have all that much new to offer after watching the interviews. Overlap aside, it's more about the tone on the set and how happy they are with everyone and everything associated with the movie. There are a few notes that stand out -- lots of last minute cast changes, how this was the first movie for so many of the people involved, snipping out some
production valuetoplessness, Guy pointing out which of the creepy things Charlie does that he nicked from his own life, and an explanation what's running through Mallory's mind in the movie's last couple of minutes -- but there's nothing really unique enough to the commentary to make for an essential listen. The DVD also serves up five and a half minutes' worth of snippets from the movie with picture-in-picture video of Salomon and Guy recording the commentary.
Rounding out the extras are seven and a half minutes of excerpts used to plug the flick online along with a theatrical trailer.
With apparently no actual poster art or promotional stills to milk, The Mallory Effect keeps rehashing the same random red carpet picture of Josie Maran on the cover and in the disc's menus. (To be disturbingly specific, it's a shot of Josie from a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue shindig back in 2002. See? I am a fan. And creepy. Really creepy.) The Mallory Effect is a dual-layered disc that comes packaged in a standard keepcase with no insert tucked inside.
Conclusion: The Mallory Effect is a couple notches above the glut of double-digit IQ sex comedies that the studios were churning out back in '01 and '02, and maybe if it had been released back then as originally intended, this'd be a different review. Watching it now -- y'know, somewhere in the neighborhood of
seven years after cameras first started rolling -- this just seems like a room temperature retread of There's Something About Mary...the sort of movie where they wouldn't show a girl with cum in her hair, but some douchebag would talk about it happening off-camera for three minutes straight. So, yeah. Josie Maran's in it, so it's not a total loss, but still... Skip It.