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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Deliver Us From Eva
Deliver Us From Eva
Universal // R // June 17, 2003
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted June 14, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:


The romantic comedy genre rarely offers us a situation that we haven't seen before. In the case of "Deliver Us From Eva", its another Shakespeare adaptation. In this case, "Taming of the Shrew", which was recently done by "10 Things I Hate About You". The realization by one character that she was romanced for a bet has also been seen in "She's All That" and other films.

"Eva" doesn't manage to reinvent the wheel, but it does offer some fine performances and moments of snappy dialogue. The film stars Gabrielle Union as Eva, oldest of the four Dandridge Sisters. Eva had to become the surrogate mother for her three younger sisters and, despite the fact that the four are now in their 20's, Eva still reigns over their choices in life - much to the dismay of both the sisters and especially, their boyfriends.

The men all get together and decide to hire "player" Ray (LL Cool J), who will romance Eva, get her to move out of LA and out of everyone's life. It's no mystery that Ray and Eva will fall for one another, nor is it that Eva will find out about the whole set-up.

The reason that the film works as well as it does is Union, plain and simple. Although Julia Stiles was suitably snotty in "10 Things I Hate About You", Union is delightfully mean-spirited here and looking like she's having so much fun in the process. Some of her frightening rants in this picture are not only sharply funny, but delivered with devastating and hilarious timing. She and LL Cool J also have good chemistry, and I liked how she gradually opened up to him.

The situations between the men and Eva and Eva returning their insults remained more entertaining than the rest of the film. Despite good performances, the relationship scenes between the women - Kareena (Essence Atkins), Bethany (Robinne Lee) and Jacqui (Meagan Good) and respective partners — Tim (Mel Jackson), Mike (Duane Martin) and Darryl (Dartanyan Edmonds) isn't given much focus - the situations were nicely played and occasionally pretty funny, but seemed cliched and underdeveloped. Once Ray and Eva start seeing one another, they're largely the focus.

"Deliver Us From Eva" is good-natured, pleasant enough and generally a good time-waster. I liked how the beginning - which I won't reveal - doesn't suggest the ending we think it may. However, it works only inconsistently and at 107 minutes, its about 15 minutes noticably too long. "Deliver Us From Eva" isn't anything new, but it's a good date-night rental and there were certainly aspects of it I liked.


The DVD


VIDEO: "Deliver Us From Eva" is presented by Universal in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a perfectly fine transfer, although it just doesn't quite reach excellence. Sharpness and detail are a bit inconsistent; while the majority of the scenes appeared suitably sharp, some softness could occasionally enter in.

Thankfully, pretty much everything else about the transfer was in fine form. Little in the way of edge enhancement entered the picture, and I only spotted a slight amount of pixelation. The print looked perfectly crisp and clean, with only a couple of specks (especially noticable in a shot of downtown Chicago) and a little bit of grain. The film's warm color palette looked well-saturated and warm, with no smearing or other concerns.


SOUND: "Deliver Us From Eva" is presented in both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround sound. The film's soundtrack was largely dialogue-driven, with not much in the way of ambient sounds or other touches. The surrounds were used, though, if only for some pleasant reinforcement of the various songs and score on the soundtrack. Dialogue remained natural and clean-sounding, too. Comparing the DTS and Dolby Digital soundtracks revealed no noticable differences.

EXTRAS: Commentary with director Gary Hardwick, "making of" featurette, deleted scenes and 2 music videos.


Final Thoughts: Despite a familiar plot, pacing issues and some underdeveloped characters, "Eva" offers a good cast, fine performances and had enough charm to win me over. Universal's DVD offers fine audio/video quality, along with a few supplements. A good date-night rental.

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