Jekyll and Hyde Together Again
Olive Films // R // $29.95 // September 13, 2016
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted October 22, 2016
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
In 10 Words or Less
Robert Louis Stevenson on drugs
Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Zucker Brothers-style comedy, cult 80s comedies
Likes: Bess Armstrong
Dislikes: Drug comedy
Hates: Aggressively physical comedy

The Movie
When the opening titles of a film are snorted up like cocaine less than 20 seconds in, you kind of know what sort of movie you're dealing with, and that's just the case with Jekyll and Hyde...Together Again. It would be interesting to know if any of the four writers (yes, it took four writers to create this movie) were themselves high when they came up with the concept to mix Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of a doctor who turns himself into a madman, with cocaine. Because the results sure seem like they were crafted by people under the influence.

Dr. Daniel Jekyll (Mark Blankfield, Fridays) is a noted surgeon, but he has decided to give up operating in order to focus on his research into using drugs to help people heal themselves. The problem (if there honestly is one, as the stakes are pretty low all around) is, the head of his hospital expects Jekyll to perform a total body transplant on the super-rich lunatic Hubert Howes. And, if Jekyll doesn't, he won't let the good doctor marry his materialistic daughter Mary (Bess Armstrong, My So-Called Life), despite the fact that she seems like a fully-grown adult. Under stress, Jekyll pushes himself in his research and, late one night, he accidentally snorts a pile of an accidentally created batch of his drug (in what is easily one of the most forced, ridiculous coincidences in the history of comedy).

So, the drug unleashes Hyde, a wildman inside of Jekyll--basically a massive cokehead. The physical transformation, which sees Blankfield make a Jim Carrey-esque spectacle well before that was a thing, includes a gold chain with a spoon and razor blade, a long coke nail and a chest full of hair. Hyde hits the town like an unbelievable douche, picks up Ivy (Krista Errickson), a loose girl Jekyll met at the hospital, and spends a ton of money. In the morning, it's Jekyll who has to deal with the consequences. In writing this paragraph, a realization dawns that there's barely any meaningful plot to this film (which helps explain why the ending is so abrupt and pointless). There are story points, including a research grant that takes everyone to London late in the game, but as far as a plot that requires following, you're out of luck. The feel is more like a sitcom, which makes sense considering writer/director Jerry Belson made his career in that field.

It would not be a shock if this film was written with Blankfield in mind, as it's mainly a vehicle for the physicality he became known for on Fridays. Wild gesticulation, manic mugging, and a ton of drug comedy make it a perfect follow-up to characters like his crazed pharmacist. There are attempts at Zucker Brothers-style comedy, including background public announcements in the hospital and completely random moments, but they don't play well with the aggressive Hyde character, which gives the film an exceedingly uneven feel. There are however a few lines that are genuinely funny, but the signal-to-noise ratio is low.

For anyone who didn't live through the period (and even those who were younger at the time), the level of politically incorrect comedy in this film is rather bananas, especially in the odd relationship with Asian characters, the unusual characterization of a gay character, and the presence of two black lawn jockeys. The presence of these lawn jockeys is weird enough in an era where they've mostly disappeared due to sensitivity over the stereotypes they represent, but for some reason they are alive (with one played by Tony Cox). Why this is, is completely unclear and out of step with the rest of the movie, and representative of a film that frequently makes little sense.

Surprisingly, for an R-rated film (no way this amount of coke comedy was getting anything lower) there's a rather limited amount of nudity or sexuality, which is odd considering one of the main character's sole motivation is sex. Even Errickson, whose role would seem to demand nudity in an 80s comedy, only strips down to her bra and panties. There's one scene involving a plastic surgeon that shows off some truly fake boobs and there's a peek at one nurse's nipple (courtesy of a facially-obscured Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson), but otherwise, it's an odd bit of restraint in a movie that seemed to not understand what the word means.

The Disc
Jekyll & Hyde...Together Again arrives on one Blu-ray disc, in a standard Blu-ray keepcase The disc has a static menu with options to watch the film, select scenes and adjust the setup. There are no audio options, while subtitles are available in English.

The Quality
The 1.78:1, AVC-encoded 1080p transfer here is quite nice, with appropriate, well-saturated color and an impressive level of fine detail, even if the optical effects look pretty weak. Darker scenes look a little noisy (for some reason, interior shots in spaces without windows get darker at night) but the grain is rather consistent and not distracting (once you allow for the era of the film). Black levels are sufficient, and there are no digital distractions, though some very minor damage can be spotted in a few places. Overall, for a film of its pedigree and age, this is a quality transfer.

The film's mono sound is delivered as a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track, and the presentation is solid, if unspectacular, delivering clear dialogue and good sound effects throughout, while the musical numbers kick in well with strength, particularly down the homestretch. The track is free of any obvious distortion or hiss.

The Extras
There are no extras to be had.

The Bottom Line
Jekyll & Hyde...Together Again is a bizarre, uneven film that will likely appeal most to people who remember the go-go 80s fondly, or perhaps have no memory of the 80s, yet still lived through it, if you catch my drift. For everyone else, it's a look at a time we've left behind, unless you're firmly in the Carrey/Chris Farley/Melissa McCarthy camp of overt comedy. The presentation is solid, but there are now extras, making it likely a rental would satisfy your bad movie cravings.


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