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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Skin Deep
Skin Deep
Warner Bros. // R // June 4, 2002
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jason Bovberg | posted July 18, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?

In the late 70s and early 80s, hit-and-miss writer/director Blake Edwards came up with a string of amusing comedies that the public slurped up like syrup: 10, Victor/Victoria, Micki & Maude, and so on. Then there were the absolute failures that made you wonder whether Edwards had an evil, incompetent twin brother: S.O.B., The Man Who Loved Women, A Fine Mess, and so on. His '89 sex comedy Skin Deep falls somewhere between the two extremes, offering both yawningly bad 80s sexploits and a few instances of hilarious physical comedy from its star.

John Ritter plays Zach Hutton, a true bastard who's completely hung up on himself, engaged in multiple affairs, bumbling through his self-absorbed life in an alcohol daze, bedding as many females as possible. He's not the most likable fellow in the world, and yet Ritter manages to infuse Hutton with a humorous pratfall-happy giddiness—in the vein of Dudley Moore's performances in two of the above-mentioned films. There are supporting characters wandering through the film, but they're incidental. Skin Deep is completely about Hutton, and you feel like you should be interested in his problems, but they seem so superficial and inherently 80s that you shrug them off as ridiculous and just enjoy the simple pleasures of Ritter's performance.

And that seems to be the route Edwards has taken: Skin Deep is simply a loosely connected series of comic sexual misadventures: Zach winding up in bed with a female body builder; Zach using a glow-in-the-dark condom to engage in a "lightsaber duel" with a heavy-metal rocker; and so on. The film does boast some physical gags that are real knee-slappers. There's even an unconscious-dog bit that is clearly an influence for a key scene in There's Something About Mary. Unfortunately, there's enough anger and 80s Me-decade psychobabble between these great scenes that they're comedic islands too few and far between.

HOW'S IT LOOK?

Warner presents Skin Deep in a relatively detailed anamorphic-widescreen transfer of the film's original 2.35:1 theatrical presentation. Given the film's 13 years, this image shows a generous amount of background-reaching detail. However, the film was clearly shot somewhat soft. There appears to be an ever-present gauze over the image throughout. Colors seem accurate if not precisely bold. Flesh tones look right on.

HOW'S IT SOUND?

The disc offers a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that suffers from aging source elements. Fidelity is wanting, particularly at the high end, where dialog typically breaks apart. Except for that, dialog is accurate if somewhat thin, and music is fairly warm. But the soundtrack lacks full body. I noticed very little surround activity, and the presentation is generally focused at the center.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE?

Not much. You'll have to make do with Cast & Crew filmographies for the major players, the anamorphic-widescreen Theatrical Trailer, and trailers for Morgan Creek DVDs, including Ace Ventura, True Romance, American Outlaws, and Chill Factor.

WHAT'S LEFT TO SAY?

Skin Deep is worthy of a rental, but that's about it. It's probably not as funny as you remember.

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