Amy's O
Showtime // R // $24.98 // December 10, 2002
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 4, 2002
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The Movie:

An occasionally very funny picture that's a little too cutesy and fluffy to be memorable, "Amy's O" ("Amy's Orgasm" originally) likely didn't get much in the way of attention because of the title, among other reasons. Written, produced, directed, edited by and starring Julie Davis, "Amy's O" stars Davis as Amy, a self-help author who has become financially successful due to writing books about how women don't need men, much to the anger of men.

Although she claims to know everything about romance, she really doesn't know a great deal herself. While she claims that women don't need men, most of Amy's thoughts revolve around potential mates. When she's interviewed by shock jock Matthew Starr (Nick Chinlund), she finds herself falling for the guy who seems like the exact opposite of what her theories would suggest she do.

For every aspect where "Amy's O" works, there are some problems that are noticable, but don't take away too badly from the picture. Director/Actor/Etc. Davis clearly has potential on both sides of the camera, but the film's cutesy factor is often at "11" and things like animated title cards don't work in its favor. Davis is an energetic actress who has great timing (sort of a Woody Allen-ish thing going), energy and spirit, but she's an odd match with co-star Nick Chinlund - the two have little chemistry and just seem too different from one another.

Overall, this is a potentially great film that simply doesn't have everything ironed out. Although the angle of a self-help author realizing she doesn't know how to help herself is interesting (if maybe not really original), the film seems to jump from point A to point B without making Amy's transitions entirely convincing. While some of the lines that Davis has written are quite funny and the characters she's crafted fairly memorable, the romantic insights provided are usually stereotypes and generally not terribly new or fresh. I wonder what the film could have done had it continued the idea that people don't need relationships to be happy and can simply be satisfied exploring life on their own for the time being. I suppose there's just not a romantic comedy without a relationship, though.

"Amy's O", if nothing else, seems like a very good resume film for Davis. The film has flaws, but she's a charming, outgoing actress that seems normal and accessable. While the writing has some noticable concerns in a few areas, there's an intelligence and mainstream sensibility that indicates Davis could helm and maybe star in a more mid-budget romantic comedy, or be a supporting player in larger budget fare where she could bounce lines off of someone like Meg Ryan.


VIDEO: "Amy's O" is presented in 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. Another Sundance Channel release (in a partnership with Showtime, apparently), this is an average presentation. Thankfully, it's a far better effort than the awful presentation that was given to the first in the Sundance series, "Scotland, PA". Sharpness and detail are generally fair throughout this transfer - brighter scenes are passably crisp and detailed, while some darker or dimly-lit scenes can appear a bit soft.

Other than the occasional soft appearance, there wasn't too many other concerns. Some minor artifacts occasionally appeared, as did some light edge enhancement. Aside from a little speckle here and a mark there (especially during the opening credits), the print also generally seemed in fine condition. Colors remained a little on the subdued side, but fairly well-rendered; flesh tones could also appear a bit off, too. Decent picture quality, but improvements in this Sundance line still need to be made.

SOUND: "Amy's O" is presented by Sundance/Showtime in Dolby 2.0. "Scotland, PA" was released theatrically in 5.1, but was presented by the studio in 2.0 on the DVD. Although I can't confirm, the film is listed as having a 5.1 soundtrack on the Internet Movie Database. It also recieves a 2.0 soundtrack for its DVD release. The dialogue-driven picture still sounds fine in 2.0, with the dialogue and minimal score sounding crisp and clear.

EXTRAS: "Amy's O" includes a fun and informative commentary from director/writer/actress Julie Davis and actress Caroline Aaron, along with a short featurette, the film's trailer, a Sundance featurette, a 4 1/2 minute clip of deleted footage, weblink and credits.

Final Thoughts: "Amy's O" works well almost entirely due to Davis's energy and the film's quick pace. While the film's romance between the leads and theories on love don't work entirely well, there's still several funny moments and nicely portrayed supporting characters. Sundance/Showtime's DVD is an improvement over the presentation of "Scotland, PA", but there's still certainly room for improvement for this line. Rent it.

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