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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Double Take
Double Take
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 13, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Say what you want about Howard Stern's radio show, while listening for one day in January Eddie Griffin was on the show promoting his new movie "Double Take". Spending about an hour discussing his life story and his rise up the stand-up comedy ladder, it was definitely one of the most interesting celebrity radio interviews I'd heard in a while as Griffin's life has taken a lot of turns. After finally getting to see "Double Take" on DVD I think that "The Eddie Griffin Story" would probably be a more interesting 90 minutes. Watching paint dry would be a more interesting 90 minutes, in fact.

"Double Take" is the latest entry in that immortal, everlasting genre - the "buddy action comedy". One of the listed producers is "Rush Hour" director Brett Ratner and "Double Take", which is directed by "Bad Boys" writer George Gallo, plays like one calorie Ratner. Orlando Jones (wasted in this Summer's "Evolution") and Eddie Griffin play stockbroker Daryl Chase and street hustler Freddie Tiffany. The two meet up when Freddie stops a crime from taking place - or did he? Moments later, Chase is somehow framed in some kind of scheme - the movie doesn't explain much - and the two, who have switched identities, are off to Mexico where the CIA are waiting to protect Chase.

The problem with "Double Take" isn't quite as much the dialogue (although that element is nothing much to speak of), it's the situations. The two spend a sequence on a train where a waiter doesn't like Chase - the movie gets little or no laughs out of the entire scene - the film thinks that Chase asking for phone lines installed in his train compartment is humorous. Nobody in this film really acts like they're in a realistic world and, at the same time, the movie throws in so many double and triple twists on who some of the characters are that the film seems to be making it up as it goes along as well as putting off an audience whos interest is already thin. Every so often, the movie has to throw in one of those B-movie moments where one of the characters spends a few moments explaining what's going on in the plot.

It's been said that "Bad Boys" required a lot of improvising as it went along during production. I think that could have at least helped somewhat during "Double Take" as, although it still probably wouldn't have made any sense, the two lead actors are certainly comedically talented enough that I think they'd be able to come up with better lines than this. You'd also think that Gallo could do action better. There's a big shootout at an emu farm (don't ask) that is so awkwardly cut together by the usually fine editor Malcolm Campbell that it becomes a total mess.

If not funny, intelligent or logical, at least "Double Take" looks beautiful. Ace cinematographer Theo Van De Sande makes the material visually slick and stylish, allowing it to be at least visually interesting. As good as Van De Sande is, he certainly can't save the picture, which is a lost cause as it leaves two fine comedic talents stranded. It's no wonder that the picture was dumped into January this year.


VIDEO: "Double Take" is another example of a transfer from Disney that, if it wasn't for a few nagging flaws, would be reference quality. Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture certainly doesn't suffer from any softness - the picture looks terrifically detailed and crisp throughout the entire running time. Again - I've said it three or four times in the past week or so, Theo Van De Sande ("Cruel Intentions", "Wayne's World") is the one cinematographer who can really take comedy and make it look visually stylish instead of flat and bland.

Unfortunately, I mentioned flaws before, and they do occasionally pop up. Some instances of noticable edge enhancement do appear, as do a couple of tiny traces of pixelation. There are no print flaws though, and even the darker scenes still show fine detail. Colors look bright, bold and well-saturated throughout the movie, with no scenes where they appeared even the slightest bit smeared or problematic. If it wasn't for those minor irritants, this would be a superior quality image - as is, it's just very good to great. The layer change is placed at 1:08:55.

SOUND: Although Disney was often regarded as not only thin when it came to supplements, but also presentation, it's impressive what a difference a year makes. The majority of their new releases not only offer supplemental material, but also both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio. Although DTS doesn't always present a difference, it's always nice to have the option, especially when it makes a difference like on "Double Take". Although the audio for the movie calms down for some dialogue-driven passages, the majority of the film ramps up the surround use for a number of sequences, not only for intense moments, but for subtle details and the music.

The film's handful of gun battles do use the surrounds nicely and the music really provides a highly enveloping feel, especially the BT track that plays during the fashion show. There's also a nice, although not massive, amount of low bass throughout the picture. Dialogue sounded clear and natural, and the music came through warmly and richly. This isn't one of the most remarkable soundtracks I've ever listened to, but it's an above average effort that uses surround-sound nicely.

MENUS:: A nicely animated main menu with clips and music in the background as well as non-animated sub-menus with 30 second music clips.


Commentary: This is a commentary from director George Gallo and editor Malcolm Campbell. Both of them are quite entertaining and often interesting, as their good-humored look behind-the-scenes of the movie is a bit (ok, quite a bit) more interesting than the movie itself. The two discuss the history of the production as well as some of the technical information about specific scenes as well as story details. Although they do ramble on with praise directed at certain areas at times, they do come back to some fun tidbits at times, such as the performance of the little dog that serves as Tiffany's sidekick.

Director's Diary: A rival to the commentary as the best supplement included, this is a 28 minute video documentary about the production of "Double Take" stars off with a look at the premiere, then bounces back to the begining - day one of the shoot, and then goes from there. We visit with the actors on set, and director Gallo narrates - offering explanations of what is going on as well as the general concerns that he was feeling while on-set. It's an excellent, well-produced documentary - it's the kind that should be included on DVDs rather than the promotional documentaries that tell us about the story that we just saw.

Deleted Scenes: 4 extended scenes and 3 deleted scenes are presented with optional commentary from Gallo and Campbell, although they don't really have that much to say about some of the sequences here.

Storyboard/Scene Comparison: This section provides a multi-angle presentation where the viewer can either view the final opening scene, the storyboards for the opening scene, or a comparison of the two. There's also the storyboards and final scene for the original shoot-out at the Emu ranch available separately.

Also: A short featurette about clues in the movie that lead to the eventual ending and the theatrical trailer (Dolby 2.0).

Final Thoughts: "Double Take" is one of those movies where I wouldn't recommend it even if Disney made an amazing three disc set. It's not the worst picture I've had to sit through all year, but it's still pretty low on the action movie scale, waisting the talents of all involved. The DVD isn't bad at all though - strong audio quality and fine video quality as well as quite a few fine extras. If you liked the movie in the theater, you'll like the DVD. If you didn't see the movie in the theater, I'd skip it.

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