For those who are familiar with the term "chick flick", "Moonlight and Valentino" falls straight into that catagory. As for cinema in general, it doesn't fall into the catagory of being a particularly good picture, as it's dramatic elements become a tad overdone and melodramatic - nor does the film ever really find its way as the mediocre screeplay keeps the pace slow.
The film stars Elizabeth Perkins as Rebecca, who has just lost her husband as the film opens. A group of friends including Lucy (Gwyneth Paltrow), Sylvie (Whoopi Goldberg), and Alberta (Kathleen Turner) come to her aid, but as with most movies like this one, we find that the other women have numerous problems of their own.
Similar to Rob Reiner's "Story Of Us", there's a lot of arguing, a lot of emotions, and a lot that doesn't begin to engage the audience. We aren't given enough details about any of the main women to have a great deal of sympathy for them, with the exception of two - and that's due to their acting. Perkins is fine, but Paltrow is as good as Paltrow's ever been, easily trying to at least attempt to work some magic out of dialogue that's, at times, remarkably bland. Bon Jovi appears somewhat briefly as the romantic interest of Perkins.
Although there's a lot of emotions on-screen, I didn't find myself particularly moved by the film, not only because of the mediocre story and dialogue, but it feels too manipulative - and that's not particularly helped by Howard Shore's somewhat sappy score. I've liked Shore's work a great deal, and I think he's done some wonderful work for some of his most recent pictures, but his efforts here don't help a film that needs help. At least the cinematography of Julio Macat("The Wedding Planner", currently in theaters), captures some lovely scenery well.
With the talent involved, this might have made for a better picture had a more interesting script been provided, but there's always "had there"'s for a lot of films and for this one, the final product is at best, okay.
VIDEO: This is, unfortunately, another MGM title that is not anamorphic (or, "enhanced for widescreen televisions" to use the term that MGM uses on the back of their anamorphic titles). Simply, this is another title from MGM that looks to have had very little effort put into the presentation as it ranges from fair to dissapointing. Sharpness is wanting, as much of the movie looks soft and not terribly well-defined.
Flaws are apparent throughout, as print flaws appear at a fairly consistent basis, although I will admit there are stretches of the movie that remain acceptably clean looking. If print flaws aren't apparent though, other problems do make themselves visible. Pixelation appears, as does edge enhancement. These flaws occasionally become distracting.
Colors are at least nice, with natural, rich colors coming through in many of the scenes. Although the film isn't particularly engaging, at least the scenery is nice to look at, even if MGM's work here doesn't do the film's visuals justice.
SOUND: The sound is in Dolby 2.0, although there's very little to the presentation - it's almost completely dialogue-driven, with some occasional touches of Shore's score. Dialogue is clear, with no flaws in the way of harshness or other such problems. Much of this is essentially mono.
MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, with very basic images serving as backgrounds.
Negative: MGM's non-anamorphic picture is mediocre at best, and the film's sound is nothing to get excited over - neither is the movie, although it has the occasional moment and a good performance from Paltrow.