The Broken Hearts Club
Columbia/Tri-Star
Review by Heather Picker | posted March 21, 2001
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The Movie: If In & Out was the first mainstream "gay man discovers himself" movie, Greg Berlanti's The Broken Hearts Club is the first mainstream "gay men already know who they are and don't spend ninety minutes bitching, dying, or playing Thelma Ritter to a lovelorn leading lady" movie. Berlanti, a Dawson's Creek producer, makes a distinguished debut as writer-director, and the likable ensemble cast includes Timothy Olyphant, Dean Cain, Andrew Keegan, and John Mahoney as a group of gay friends with the same problems as any characters you'd see in a "straight" movie. Unfortunately, The Broken Hearts Club has many of the same overused plot devices.

The DVD: One of the best looking low-budget movies in recent memory, The Broken Hearts Club looks great on DVD. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer (a pan and scan version is optional) provides solid colors, natural flesh tones, good contrast, and minimal edge enhancement and artifacting. The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround is adequate, as The Broken Hearts Club is dialogue-driven, but there is little surround use. The English and French 2.0 Surround tracks are nothing to write home about; English and French subtitles and English closed captions are also included.

Features include theatrical trailers for The Broken Hearts Club, All About My Mother, Go, Groove, and FutureSport, deleted scenes, interactive menus, scene selections, disappointingly slim talent files, and a DVD-ROM web link to the movie's official website. The scene-specific commentary by Berlanti and producer Mickey Liddell details the exhausting 20-day shoot with humor and pride. They offer an interesting peek into how to make the most of time and money when working with limited resources, and their lack of gratuitous ass kissing, a practice found often in commentaries, is refreshing.

Seven deleted scenes round out the supplementary features. They are short and largely insignificant; two of them are extensions of scenes that remained in the film. Though unpolished looking, only one of the (widescreen) scenes is of poor visual quality. Accompanying commentary by writer-director Greg Berlanti and producer Mickey Liddell is optional.

The Recommendation: Good job, Columbia. Easily worth a rental, The Broken Hearts Club is worth a purchase for fans of the film.


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