In 10 Words or Less
We're back for more? Really? Why?
Likes: Drawn Together, Comedy Central, surreal comedy
Dislikes: Spanky Ham, gross-out comedy
Hates: Predictable jokes
The Story So Far
Drawn Together smushed together parodies of reality TV and animation, resulting in an extremely funny and utterly un-PC half-hour comedy meant only for adults,which ran on Comedy Central for several years. Taking characters from several animated genres, including family fairy tales, super heroes, video games and anime, and putting them together to live in a house was the perfect set-up for making fun of reality shows. The short first season was released on DVD in October 2005, followed by the second season two years later in September 2007, with the final season hitting shelves in May of 2008, while a complete set arrived in November of 2009. DVDTalk has reviews of all four sets.
By the time the final season of Drawn Together came to a close, the series had somewhat run its course, having already all but dropped the reality-TV parody premise, and having ramped up the more offensive elements to their probably limits. If there were stories still to tell, they weren't readily evident and, honestly, weren't likely missed by many after it was unceremoniously ignored into limbo by Comedy Central. I count myself as a fan of the series, and I hadn't thought about it since my review of the final set.
Oddly though, it was Comedy Central that came up with the idea of doing a direct to DVD movie, and when they approached the creators, Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser had no ideas for more adventures. So they used the show's cancellation as inspiration for a meta-story about the characters discovering they've been cancelled and attempting to do something about it. The concept it actually quite smart, which is unsurprising considering some of the plots the show cooked up, but the execution isn't equally as brilliant, resulting in 70 minutes of oneupsmanship without an opponent to one up, as the jokes get grosser and more inappropriate without a reason to do so.
Part of the problem is the inside baseball being played, as the story only really works if you know the series' whole history. Otherwise, it could seem like the Drawn Together gang has a bitter issue with the South Park crew, represented in this film by the Suck My Taint show, starring a precocious, round-headed, googly-eyed girl. According to the movie, the reason Drawn Together was cancelled is it is dirty without meaning. On the other hand, Suck My Taint makes insightful points about society through dirty jokes, kind of like those Colorado kids, despite animation that's a bit rough, like Cartman's crew, but it's not like anyone on Drawn Together has ever been in a public tiff with Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
Except Seth MacFarlane. The head of the Family Guy empire, who's been in the South Park crosshairs, lends his voice to I.S.R.A.E.L., a robot assassin with a ridiculous acronym for a name, existing only to enable word play at the expense of the Hebrew nation. Picking up the box, there's a big sticker on the front trumpeting his role, advertising that's certain to disappoint his legion of fans. His considerable talents go to waste here behind a digitized filter, in a part that couldn't have taken an hour to complete. It's such a nondescript performance that one line was re-done by a regular cast member with little difference. His dialogue isn't even important, since the robot's sheer existence is all that was needed to facilitate the Israel gags, which truthfully get a tad too obvious.
Beyond the whole plot about finding a point for Drawn Together, allowing it to return to the air, the film seems set on not only pushing the envelope but obliterating it in an orgy of superhero sex, scatological humor and pure and simple malice. Did we really need to open things up with a scene featuring the stars in high-heels mercilessly stomping kittens and puppies to bloody (just off-screen) death, while the Jew Producer (the mind behind the Drawn Together house) masturbates? It seems like an unnecessary way to show he's using the house for his own interests. The same goes for the frequent nudity, including Wooldoor's genitalia, and Captain Hero's necrophilic leanings. At some point, you cross the line into excess, where any shock or humor gives way to numbness.
On something of a side note, parts of the film, including a big sex scene with Toot and Foxxy Love, and the fantasy world of Mark-A-Point Land, are presented in old-school red and blue 3-D, which actually leads to the biggest joke on the whole DVD, as Comedy Central decided they couldn't afford to include 3-D glasses with the disc. If you do get your hands on some glasses (or use the guide in the extras), you're bound to be pretty disappointed by the 3-D, as it doesn't look very three-dimensional, and there's little in the way of any depth effects. Fortunately, you're given the option at the opening to watch these scenes either in 2-D or 3-D
Packed in a standard keepcase, this one-disc release features a pretty inspired animated, anamorphic menu that ties into the movie, offering options to watch the movie, select scenes, adjust the set-up and check out the bonus features. Audio options include English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 tracks. There are no subtitles, but there is closed captioning.
The show's animation style changed to flash animation in an effort to cut costs, and it had no negative affect on the visuals, as the anamorphic widescreen image looks crisp and clean, with bright, vivid color. Obviously, since it's all digital from start to finish, there are no issues with dirt or damage, but there were no noticeable problems with digital artifacts either.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track sounds quite nice, delivering the dialogue crisply, while utilizing the side and rear speakers to bump up the score and offer up some sound effects that fill out of the audio well, with some dynamic mixing thrown in that moves the sound well across the room. The improvements in the audio really help sell the movie as more than just an overlong episode.
The Drawn Together DVDs always had a decent amount of extras, and this disc is no different, starting with the audio commentary featuring creators Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser and writer/producer Jordan Young and sound editor Kurt Vanzo. Like the tracks on the season sets, this is a rather loose affair, with plenty of talk about behind-the-scenes struggles with censors and corporate issues, along with an unusual prayer session and hints on little details hidden in the film, including one the creators didn't even know was in the movie. It's an odd duck, but for fans, it's well worth checking out.
"Drawn Together: True Confessionals" (12:23) lets the cast and creators talk some more about getting cancelled, how the idea of the movie came about and the cast's thoughts about the production and characters. The cast is really terrific, so to hear from them is a welcome opportunity. It's better than "Drawn Together: The Legacy" (4:21), which is a faux-serious tribute to what the show means to the history of television and animation, with comments from the cast, though it does includes some legitimately thoughtful comments from Harnell, Summer and Strong.
One item sure to draw viewers is "Anatomy of an Animated Sex Scene" (5:39), which breaks down the creation of the memorable scene, including the writing, acting and oddness of the moment. There's more behind-the-scenes info in "Re-animating Drawn Together: From the Small Screen to the Slightly Bigger Screen" (9:54), which focuses on the animation of the movie, including the transition to flash animation, done by studio 6 Point Harness. Silverstein and Jeser, and a trio from 6 Point Harness, talk about the benefits of this style of production and how it works, with some notes about the more unusual things the animators came up with in interpreting the script.
There are also 8:34 of deleted scenes included as well, though, with the exception of one animatic, they are all actually just extended scenes, with a few additional jokes tucked in. None of it really deserved to be in the final movie anyway though, so they exist mainly as proof of positive editing. If, for some reason, you don't know much about the characters, yet still pick up this DVD, there are eight Drawn Together minisodes, which is a fancy term for clip reel from the show, with new bookends featuring the Jew Producer character.
Wrapping things up, if you don't have 3-D glasses from another disc, you can watch a featurette on how the make your own homemade glasses. For 2:21, you get to watch a faux-educational film featuring a topless woman demonstrating how it's done. Thanks?
The Bottom Line
After watching the film and extras, I understand why the movie was made, but it still doesn't seem quite necessary, as the resulting film seems to exist mainly to show more nudity, more gross-outs and more offensive material. I'm not a sensitive fellow when it come to shocking content, but this movie presents these things to a level even I'm not comfortable with. Why Seth MacFarlane got involved is a mystery as well, because he doesn't add much of anything either, other than his name on a big sticker on the front. The DVD looks and sounds great, and there's a nice pile of extras to enjoy, so fans of the show looking for one last hurrah can certainly get it here, along with hearing from some very talented voice actors.
Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or his convention blog called Conning Fellow
*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.