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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Three Men and a Baby
Three Men and a Baby
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG // April 2, 2002
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 31, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

A film that became an enormous hit that shouldn't have worked nearly as well as it did, "Three Men and a Baby" energized the career of its three leads, at least for a little while. Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson play three Manhattan bachelors who have quite a few girlfriends and party all the time. Danson's character is out of the country when the other two recieve a package at the door - a baby, with a note that Danson is the father and the mother wants him to take the baby.

The two are baffled how to take care of this little bundle. Selleck's character summarizes the situation nicely - he can build 50-story skyscrapers, so he should be able to change a kid's diaper. He can't. Danson's character eventually returns and while he's at first quite resistant to the idea of fatherhood, he eventually warms up to his responsibilities.

Oddly, the film retains a completely unnecessary subplot about the three getting mixed up in a drug deal, which was apparently a part of the original French film, as well. The film could have easily done without it, as the three actors are surprisingly able to make a decent go of the new fatherhood situation. The performances are mixed - Danson doesn't have much of a character, but Guttenberg is funny and Selleck really offers a very good, compelling performance.

While this certainly isn't high art, it's amusing. The film was directed by "Star Trek"'s Leonard Nimoy (who seems like an unlikely choice) and was an unexpected box office hit in 1987, racking up 81 million at the box office.


The DVD

VIDEO: Buena Vista presents "Three Men and a Baby" in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (although the box lists it as both widescreen and, in fine print at the bottom, pan & scan, it is actually widescreen). Earlier the same day as I'm sitting down to review this, I'd watched Buena Vista's "Ruthless People", out the same week as this title and theatrically released a year earlier. It showed noticable grain and a fair amount of print flaws, along with slight edge enhancement and pixelation. Unfortunately, "Three Men and A Baby" has all of those problems present (a bit more so) and another issue or two to contend with.

Where the grain on "Ruthless People" could either be hardly seen or mild, "Three Men and A Baby" shows a more consistent mild grain. Print flaws are also apparent throughout, although the opening few minutes seemed a bit dirtier than the rest. Specks, marks and a few scratches are more frequently visible than I'd like to see on even a film of this age. The picture seemed to even flicker ever-so-slightly at a couple of moments.

Sharpness and detail were not terrific - I'm sure that this film was never visually sleek in the first place - but some scenes looked noticably soft and some even looked dark (see the early party sequence). Colors appeared slightly smeary and soft, but otherwise looked natural and not particularly bright or vivid. I've now reviewed a couple of Disney's new low-priced catalog titles that are coming out this week and I hope they are not an indicator of the image quality that these catalog releases will contain.

SOUND: Going down in the "was this really necessary?" catagory, "Three Men and a Baby" has been given a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix. Comedies as a whole have been known for their unambitious use of audio, so a comedy that's now about 15-years-old really wouldn't have a whole lot going on. That turns out to be the case on this presentation, as the only element that's really distributed to the surrounds is the 80's score - which I would prefer to be less enveloping. The score seemed a bit thin and flat, but dialogue came through fairly clearly. While I somewhat appreciate the film being remixed into 5.1, it doesn't really make for an awful lot of difference.

MENUS: Very basic film-themed images serve as backgrounds.

EXTRAS: Not a thing.

Final Thoughts: "Three Men and a Baby" is a moderately funny picture that contains a solid performance from Selleck. Buena Vista's DVD is a bit dissapointing and seems rushed; the video quality is mediocre and audio quality isn't much better. No supplements included, either.
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