Breast Men
HBO // R // $14.98 // October 30, 2001
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted October 29, 2001
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Graphical Version
The Movie:

In what will probably stand as his best work on either the small or big screen, David Schwimmer stars as a young Texas doctor whose idea makes him a fortune and a celebrity, then manages to ruin his life. He's joined by an older doctor who's also his mentor, William Larson (Chris Cooper) in his quest to develop the silicone breast implant. The film is certainly not a light-hearted comedy, as although there's some funny moments, the film explores the possible consequences and side effects of the surgery.

The careers of the two doctors are followed throughout the years, as both are met with strong resistance from the medical community, but then find remarkable success on their own when the surgery takes off. Schwimmer's character finds himself going from a nerdy goof to a young man who has the money and power to do whatever he pleases, although this also causes tension between the already not particularly friendly two doctors, who fight over who came up with the idea first.

What comes up, of course, must come down. Schwimmer's character turns into a drug addict and it begins to turn out that there are the possibility of severe side effects and deformation from the operation. Lawsuits from the women whose lives were effected and ruined from the effects of the surgery come down upon the two, who find their business through.

The performances are better than expected, especially from Schwimmer, who turns in a moderately engaging dramatic performance. A better actor could have done more with the character, but Schwimmer does what he can. Although "Breast Men" is occasionally sharp and powerful, there are stretches that drag as the film reaches a dramatic final third, supporting characters that are underwritten and moments that feel formulaic in John Stockwell("crazy/beautiful")'s screenplay. While certainly not a complete loss and stronger in the second half, "Breast Men" never quite manages to reach its full potential.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Breast Men" is presented in the film's original 1.33:1 full_frame aspect ratio by HBO. Unfortunately, the film doesn't look particularly good on this release. Sharpness and detail are somewhat weak and the film occasionally looks slightly on the dark side.

Further problems turn up throughout the picture. While these flaws are not major on their own, their consistent appearance adds up into irritation. Print flaws are visible on occasion throughout the picture in the form of some minor specks and marks. Although there are some scenes that are worn in appearance on purpose, there were scenes that weren't that showed wear. Shimmering and some pixelation were also visible more often than I'd like to see.

Colors appeared fair, looking mildly vibrant at times, but subdued and somewhat smeared at others. Black level remained fair and flesh-tones looked accurate. This was just an okay transfer from HBO - I'd certainly expect better from them.

SOUND: "Breast Men" is presented in a simple Dolby 2.0 track. Almost completely dialogue-driven, the occasional touches of music come across as bland and flat. Dialogue is clear and easily understood, but there's very little beyond the basics here.

MENUS:: Basic, non-animated menus that literally use the cover art once again.

EXTRAS:: Cast/crew bios.

Final Thoughts: "Breast Men" is a fairly decent dramatization of what are apparently the real events behind the story, with good performances from Schwimmer and Cooper. HBO's DVD, on the other hand, is a rather dissapointing one, with bland audio and inconsistent and occasionally messy video, with next-to-no supplements. While the price is very low, I'd still expect better quality.



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