100 Women
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // $24.99 // April 29, 2003
Review by Adam Tyner | posted June 1, 2003
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100 Women stars Chad Donella (Final Destination) as Sam, an art-school dropout whose cartoonish doodles didn't do much to endear himself to his professors or the innumerable women he's been pining over. Just as things seem to have bottomed out in his life, Sam finds Hope. Every bit as literally and figuratively, Hope (Erin Bartlett; Pumpkin) has given Sam back his smile. She passes seven digits Sam's way and cheerfully tells him to call her, but...whoops! Sam loses her number, and he takes a job as a delivery boy in the 'hope' that the next call for fajitas and a latté will be from his one true love.

The gamble pays off after some completely unspecified period of time, but the Hope he rediscovers is insular and depressed. Determined to seek out the source of her troubles, Sam turns to the other residents in her apartment building that lend the movie its title, a group that includes a misandrist "Amazon queen" with a phallic beeper, a deranged aspiring actress who constantly trains with a bizarre series of exercises, and a religious nut that's constantly knelt down in prayer.

Sam also bumps into Annie (Jennifer Morrison; What Lies Beneath), inadvertently stabbing her Aquabra and :sniffles: winning her heart. With several women on his mind, Sam and his pornography-obsessed cousin Holden (Steve Monroe, the "Zesty!" guy from the Taco Bell ads) are pitted against the building's lecherous manager (Clint Howard!) and an unseen resident who's willing to go to any length necessary to prevent the truth from being uncovered.

If you couldn't tell from the title, 100 Women is kind-of-a-sequel-but-not-really to the successful 100 Girls, taking the same basic premise and running through it with a different set of characters. There's not even the obligatory single returning cast member who provides some sort of tenuous link to the original, as was the case in lead Jennifer Morrison's Urban Legends 2: Final Cut. I didn't realize this until the end credits had started to roll, convinced for the entire length of the movie that Morrison was actually actress Larisa Oleynik, one of the love interests from 100 Girls.

100 Women is a romantic comedy, but not in the Meg Ryan schmaltz-y sense. I don't think anything in the Nora Ephron ouevre makes such extensive use of the penis for its physical humor, tirades about the appeal of masturbating to magazines like "Moist and Midget", Matrix-style booger battles, light sabre duels with pornography, or toejam-chomping belch-offs. Writer/director Michael Davis in a lot of ways is following in the footsteps of "Savage" Steve Holland, who also made a career out of blending oddball comedy with cute romance with flicks like Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer. Hell, 100 Women even has some animated bits, making the comparison seem all the more apt. Like Holland's '80s classics before it, the movie benefits from a likeable cast and a skewed sense of humor. As tends to be the case with most comedies, I didn't find it consistently funny all the way through, but there are several solid laugh-out-loud moments throughout. 100 Women has been criticized for having humor that veers a little too far into toilet territory, but I thought that those sorts of jokes were at least handled creatively, instead of the banality of just hoping the audience laughs because a guy drenches everything in a quarter-mile radius with various bodily fluids. So much time is spent juggling comedy and romance that an unexpected and surprisingly dark shift in tone in a flashback near the end of the movie seems jarring and wholly out of place.

100 Women is a romantic comedy aimed at guys, but there's enough of an underlying sweetness that their girlfriends can probably endure most of it. There's nothing about the movie or its unremarkable release on DVD that cries out for a purchase, but 100 Women could make for a pretty decent rental.

Video: Despite claims to the contrary on other review sites, Lion's Gate's DVD release of 100 Women is presented in anamorphic widescreen at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It's a very respectable transfer, sporting a nicely saturated palette and rock-solid black levels. Crispness and clarity remain strong throughout as well. Infrequently, the movie's comparatively low budget sneaks in, generally in the form of a handful of slightly soft shots or some mild film grain, but neither are particularly distracting. Portions of the animated intro are marred by huge black flecks, but what little speckling appears once the movie is underway is easily ignored.

Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (384Kbps) is a typical comedy mix, with the bulk of the action anchored in the front channels. Most of the activity in the rears can be chalked up to the score and the great selection of music throughout. This is one of very few movies where I made it a point to scour the end credits looking for the names of bands, and part of me has to gush over any movie that blasts the Hippos in its first few minutes. Anyway, music aside, the rears reinforce a few scattered sound effects, such as the shattering of glass, echoes in the lobby of the apartment building, and Sam's artwork blowin' in the wind. Dialogue is the focus of the audio, and it's discernable and reasonably clear throughout. The audio's certainly decent enough, but the material doesn't really call for much in the way of demo-worthy channel-leaping sound effects.

100 Women includes subtitles in English and Spanish. Neither closed captions nor alternate soundtracks have been provided. The region 4 release apparently included a DTS track, though it's not duplicated on this disc.

Supplements: There are no blatantly available extras, though like most Lion's Gate releases, selecting the studio's logo on the main menu reveals a set of hidden trailers, running just under seven minutes in length. The trailers this time around are for 100 Women, 100 Girls, and Pipe Dream. All three trailers are presented full-frame and include Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kbps) audio.

100 Women sports a set of static 4x3 comic-themed menus, and the movie has been divided into twenty-four chapters.

Conclusion: I can definitely see the appeal of 100 Women, even though it didn't really do all that much for me. Thoroughly okay, it's the type of movie that manages to have the phrase "romantic comedy" not leaving my Y-chromosome recoiling in horror. If the description earlier in the review sounds at all appealing, you might find 100 Women worth picking up as a rental, but I wouldn't recommend plunking down twenty bucks for a purchase sight-unseen. Rent It.

Boring Image Disclaimer: The screen captures in this review are compressed, slightly digitally sweetened, and don't necessarily reflect the appearance of the movie on DVD.


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