(theatrical review written 3/02)
"Sorority Boys", with a plot that seems recycled from a few 80's teen movies that I just can't remember the titles from, is a mixed bag. It gets a few genuine laughs out of its situations, but also gets a few additional ones from the sheer disbelief at what the characters would do or don't realize what they should. The film revolves around three college students, Dave (Barry Watson), Adam (Michael Rosenbaum) and Doofer (Harland Williams), who are members of the K.O.K. (Kappa Omicron Kappa) frat.
Shortly after the initial introductions of the characters, they get busted for stealing the money that was to be used for the "KOK-tail Cruise", an event where former and current members of the frat discuss potential job opportunities. They didn't do it, but to clear their name, they need to sneak back into the frat to grab a tape that would show their innocence. Sneaking in disguised as women a few nights later, they're quickly tossed out and onto the doorstep of the women's sorority they've been terrorizing for the past few years, D.O.G. (Delta Omicron Gamma). Feminist president Leah (Melissa Sagemiller) takes the boys, er...girls in and gives them a place to stay...or, a place to launch their plans.
"Sorority Boys" bypasses reality at every turn and occasionally, this becomes so ridiculous that it gets a laugh. The three boys-as-girls look so not like girls that the girls of D.O.G. would have to be not-that-bright to let them in. They get in, without question - or without any sort of pledging or anything like that; "You want in?" "Okay.", is essentially what happens. The actions of the Kappa Omicron Kappa against the D.O.G. house would have gotten them in serious trouble years ago. The list goes on and on, but in this movie, whatever needs to be believed will be and whatever plot piece or prop is needed will unquestionably be there when needed to steer the movie into a happy ending.
Are there any legitimately funny laughs? Yes, but they're few-and-far-between. A sequence where the D.O.G. girls (including the boys-as-girls) play football against another girl's sorority to gain the right to go on previously mentioned cruise is amusing. When the boys enter their new rooms at the D.O.G house, their reaction at how clean everything is also got a few laughs. "Sorority Boys" also can get repetitive, as the film goes back to the well for a handful of jokes, repeating them throughout the flick. Some of the film's gags simply don't work, falling flat - or, in the likely case of most audiences - falling upon utter silence.
"Sorority Boys" was directed by Wallace Wolodarsky, a veteran of "The Simpsons". As much as Wolodarsky tries (if infrequently funny, the picture at least is consistently fairly energetic and the performances aren't that bad), the material just isn't strong enough. There's supposed to be an element where the boys learn about the difficulties of being a woman, which leads to better treatment and understanding of them. This does not seem to be the first thing on the film's mind, nor second or third or...well, you get the idea.
While not terrible - the performances are good (especially Williams, who's hilarious) and there's a few surprise laughs - those still interested after the trailers wouldn't be losing anything much by waiting for this flick to hit video.
VIDEO: "Sorority Boys" is presented by Touchstone Home Video in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. A rather generic-looking picture, there's little to the visual style, but the DVD's transfer at least presents the basic visuals fairly well. Sharpness and detail are very good, as the picture maintained a nice, but not remarkable level of definition throughout.
While a few minor problems are scattered throughout, the general presentation is a little better than I'd have expected for this picture. Edge enhancement is visible in a few scenes, but such a minimal amount is present that it hardly proves to be much of a distraction. Slight traces of artifacts are spotted on occasion, but they remain equally minor. The print is largely in fine shape, with only a few noticable specks.
The film's color palette is generally unremarkable; while there are some more vibrant, bright tones on occasion, colors are low-key and subtle. Black level seemed solid, while flesh tones looked fine, as well.
SOUND: "Sorority Boys" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. A total "comedy" soundtrack, the audio here comes from the front speakers for the majority of the movie. Although the rear speakers offer a stray sound effect or two, their use is very subtle. Audio quality is standard, as the songs sound good enough, while dialogue is clear and crisp.
MENUS: Silly animated main menu featuring the three lead characters.
EXTRAS: The first supplement, "All The Angles" is actually an interesting new way to approach a "making of". Instead of the usual promotional material, four members of the crew (the director, the assistant director, stunt coordinator and key make-up artist) attached mini cameras to themselves and the viewer follows them around as they shoot two scenes. All four crew members have their own short introduction, but once the scenes play, viewers can switch between four angles (and a fifth, which shows dailies) with the angle button on the remote. Hopefully other studios will feature something like this in the future, as it is a neat way to see all the different aspects of filming one scene. Rounding out the disc are: a "Boys Will Be Girls" (very short) featurette and trailers for "Big Trouble" and, oddly enough, the DVD "Fearless", featuring magician David Blaine's three TV specials. While "Fearless" is a highly entertaining program, its trailer seems a bit out-of-place here.
Final Thoughts: "Sorority Boys" is incredibly crude and often pretty stupid, but I was surprised to find several very funny moments. It's a bad movie seemingly in love with its own awfulness, which actually manages to help it along. Buena Vista's DVD edition provides respectable audio/video quality and a couple of supplements. Most will likely dislike the film's humor, be offended by it or both, but those who are interested in a silly R-rated college comedy might find it an okay rental.