Lifetime, being a bastion of high-quality program, especially in their TV-movie department, fresh off such hits as "The Unauthorized Beverly Hill 90201 Story" and "The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story" have followed natural logic in expanding "The Unauthorized...Story" series to a trilogy with...wait for itů"The Unauthorized Full House Story". Naturally when one thinks of scandal so intense that it could only be told in a tale that is...unauthorized, one thinks of television's most insidious offering, "Full House". Chronicling the genesis, heydey, and briefly, latter years surrounding the series, "The Unauthorized Full House Story" turns out to be itself, a nearly 90-minute long, "dramatic" interpretation of a "Full House" episode itself.
Unlike "The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story" which was loosely based on Dustin Diamond's bitter account of his years on the show, "The Unauthorized Full House Story" appears to be cobbled together from anecdotes from the cast over the years and possibly some tales from the memoirs of the cast. No one should have any delusions over the end product resembling anything enlightening nor adequately crafted; still, that doesn't excuse the production phoning nearly every aspect in. The notion that the program feels like a "Full House" episode is not an exaggeration: it's tacky looking, the acting is mediocre, the narrative is incredibly pedestrian and follows a cycle of funny moment-dramatic snag-overly simplified resolution. Nearly every cast member in the story has a moment of self-doubt or personal struggle that is focused on (with the principal trio of Saget, Coulier, and Stamos, having recurring struggles) and when you hear the terrible score strike up the schmaltzy emotional theme that is reminiscent of every life lesson taught on the sitcom, you'll realize how insidious this unsanctioned tale is.
If the d-grade script didn't make things rocky out the gate, the cast which barely resemble the actors they're portraying spend more time trying to do bad vocal impersonations that one could easily mistake this whole series of shenanigans as an amateur online parody gone wrong. Equally unconvincing is the set which looks nothing like iconic Tanner house from the series. There's little left to say about the program; it exists solely to cash in on nostalgia from unwitting viewers, and at the end of the day, the phoned in attitude makes one question everything that is portrayed on screen. It's remarkable that despite spanning the entire length of the series, the story does little more than convey the notion that Saget hated playing a "clean" TV dad, Coulier was an overgrown child who wished his life was more like the sitcom, and Stamos was plagued by good looks and longing for a real relationship.
"The Unauthorized Full House Story" is likely not the last unauthorized dramatization of 90's programming that Lifetime will foist on the general public and I can't fairly say it should be the last, since that was more befitting of the previous entry in the series. Unfortunately, there's not enough awkward, unintentional humor within the 90-minute runtime to make it essential "trainwreck TV." Instead, it's just a sad, lazy TV-movie that bafflingly escaped a primetime slot to arrive on DVD in order to torment unwitting viewers for all eternity. To Lifetime and all involved, I invoke the advice of Joseph Gladstone when I sincerely ask you to, "cut...it...out!"
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is moderately less mediocre than the program itself. Compression artifacts, edge-enhancement, and average detail are the three most apparent aspects of the transfer. Colors are semi-natural, although nothing tonally captures the look of "Full House" itself, which I suspect is more a fault of the production design. The program is a cheap, cable TV movie and that fact is replicated well here.
The Dolby Digital English stereo audio track is serviceable. Dialogue is painfully clear in all its mediocrity and stilted delivery, while the program's few musical moments (remember when Uncle Jesse would jam on the show? Well, apparently John Stamos did that all the time on set according to this) have a sliver of vibrance and life to them.
"The Unauthorized Full House Story" is 90-minutes that could be better spent reading the Wikipedia pages for the series and principal cast; I guarantee you'll get more insight into the series itself AND have time leftover to scour YouTube for clips from the series itself. Let's quit feeding the Lifetime machine and maybe one day, there will be an "Unauthorized Lifetime TV Movie Story" haphazardly telling what went wrong when it came to unauthorized stories. Skip It.