bThere DVD Magazine
Arrow Features // Unrated // $14.99 // June 17, 2003
Review by James W. Powell | posted June 16, 2003
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After spending half an evening watching the bthere DVD, I've decided to devote the rest of my life to creating a time machine. I don't care how much money I must spend, or how difficult the task proves to be, I will do whatever it takes to get my two hours back.

Designed like a magazine on disc (with a table of contents and everything!), bthere offers 24 "articles" that you can view in bulk or one at a time. If you've watched the promotional teaser on the Web, you know bthere promises scantily clad women, cool gadgets, fast cars, loud music, and a plethora of comedy. In a strange bit of deception, the DVD actually offers none of those things. Instead, you get snippets lasting 1 to 6 minutes, containing hollow stabs at entertainment that amount to pointless fluff. And all those snippets add up to a shocking waste of two hours.

My evening with bthere got off to a rough start when I opened the cover story about Ashely Shelton and discovered a typo. Underneath the title "You Don't Have to be a Rock Star to Live Like One" was the offending subtitle: "Of Course it Helps When Your a Model." My first instinct was to immediately press the eject button in a sort of protest for English majors everywhere. Sadly, however, I submitted to my baser desires, hoping the disc would soon deliver on its promise of horny young women and cool cars, and I moved forward.

I wish now that I'd listened to my gut reaction. As I clicked through article after article, I felt my precious lifeblood draining from my brainpan. The clock looming over my living room ticked loudly, reminding me of every second of life I would never see again. But still I pressed on, in the interest of you, o faithful DVDtalk reader.

So that you don't need to walk the horrid path that I've just navigated, I will now do my best to report the contents of this DVD, or at least the highlights (if you can call them that).

The Ashley Shelton (5:47) cover story starts off with some promise: It's morning, two hot models are scantily clad, and they're making bacon. What could be better? Unfortunately, the following four minutes plunge into meaninglessness. The camera just sits there and watches Shelton as she gets pointers for her hair and discusses a party at which she bumped into R-Kelly. Wow!

Ron Jeremy: An Interview Gone Bad (3:17) is a pointless interview with the famous porn star that ends with him sucking on the interviewer's arm. I hoped that at least one provocative, interesting, or mildly entertaining question would be asked. My hopes were dashed.

Chick Chat (2:52) shows some "Connecticut cuties" in a limo, on their way to who knows where, discussing the vital aspects of a great lover. Or does it? Upon closer inspection, only one girl actually opens up and says what she likes: gentle hands.

Jamie Foxx: Welcome to My Nutz (5:40) is a surprisingly unfunny look at the actor being photographed for the cover of some magazine (which is never mentioned by name).

Laetitia Casta: How Much for a Table Dance (1:27) is a complete tease. I'm thinking: Laetitia Casta plus table dance equals quality entertainment. Nope. Instead, you get several images of her (not the most sexy I've seen) and her performance of a song and dance routine that reminded me of Elaine from "Seinfeld."

German Homegirl (5:06) would've been funny if it wasn't so sad. There's nothing worse than a pale German girl who can't speak proper English trying to teach viewers how to talk like a gangsta.

In Search of the Badonka (3:56) is the only thing on the disc worth watching a second time. Taken straight from the "Crank Yankers" television show, this portion is all audio. Listen in as a super-fly, well-endowed homie looking for a girl with a big booty tries to get a personal ad. Funny stuff.

Summer Altice: "Maxim"-ize Your Summer (4:27) does offer some nice shots of the sexy super model wearing next to nothing, but everything pales in comparison to the actual photos from the magazine.

Victoria's Secret Show: Backstage Secrets (4:29) actually ruins my images of Victoria's Secret models. I liked the fantasy I had in my head that all the models were always sexy and gorgeous. Watching them puff away at cigarettes while someone applies makeup over their "I just rolled out of bed" look seriously ruined my fantasy.

You'll also get sections devoted to the Car of the Month (that doesn't really show or discuss the Mini Cooper), the Gadget of the Month (that never points out the finer points of the Sony Ericson portable phone that also takes pictures), and the Video Game of the Month (that finds a way to actually make the BMX XXX game look bad).

Unfortunately, you won't find too many sections worthy of your attention. And believe me, I wanted to like this disc. Any disc that shows the Playboy Mansion has to be worthy, right? Wrong. All this disc did was make me realize two things: there will always be a market for "real" magazines, and I need a time machine so I can get my two hours back.

The quality of the bthere transfer is mediocre at best. Every segment is presented in full frame, with most of the footage being filmed like a documentary: with hand held cameras and without controlled lighting. This translates into a lack of detail in the shadows, a grainy look, oversaturation, and a number of other issues. There are a few instances of mosquito noise and dirt specks, and of course, there are one or two edge enhancement halos. They aren't all terrible transfers, there just aren't any really good ones, either.

The audio found on this disc is no better than the video. Actually, it's worse. It's presented in 2.0 surround, but only the music comes through with any crispness, and even that lacks a solid low end, which translates into a poor soundtrack. Voices are often muffled, particularly when the background noise is too loud. Since these are mostly interview and behind-the-scenes snippets, the lack of clear voices is a major problem.


bthere is nothing more than an entire disc filled with those pesky marketing pieces many studios try to pass off as "Special Features." If you're considering the purchase of the bthere DVD, think twice. Take your money to the local newsstand and get an actual magazine like "Maxim" or "FHM." The girls are at their sexiest and the articles might actually teach you something.

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