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Private Parts

List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 21, 2000 | E-mail the Author
In Short: Howard Stern's hilarious film - Paramount should have allowed for a special edition.

The Movie:

I've been listening to Howard Stern's radio show almost daily since I started college and have had to commute quite a ways to school. At first I was offended by what I heard, then I started laughing because most of what Stern talks about is so wonderfully, hilariously in bad taste that you can't help but laugh. The show celebrates that kind of humor, but even more than that, Stern is an honest interviewer, asking his guests questions that we all want to ask. I've been listening for about 3 years now, and still think he's putting on a funny show each morning, making me laugh so hard at times that many people on the train I take probably think I'm nuts or wonder what I'm listening to.

Around the time I first started listening, "Private Parts" came out, which was based on the best selling book that Stern wrote about his early years and his start in radio. The movie starts off looking at Howard's childhood, where he was yelled at by both his parents, especially his father, who called him a "moron". His parents are still frequently a topic of discussion on the show. We then advance to his college years, where he gets a first start on radio that doesn't go terribly well, as well as meeting his wife Alison. The film does incredibly well showing the relationship between the two, with Mary McCormack playing Alison well. We see the two break up, make up and be happy when one another succeeds. Although Stern has recently divorced his wife, the film does a very good job of showing the relationship through the best of times.

The second half of the film really focuses more on Stern's current radio career, such as when he first began working with his current sidekick, Robin Quivers, as well as the current staff. The rest of the crew, Fred Norris, Jackie Martling and Gary Dell'Abate have minor parts (Norris has gone on to small parts in other films such as "Cruel Intentions"). Also very funny is Stern's war with "Pig Vomit", a program director played by Paul Giamatti in a great performance which was one of his first on film.

What really holds it together, besides excellent performances, is a fine script and great direction by Betty Thomas("Dr. Dolittle"). The movie is generally good natured without lacking Stern's sense of humor. It walks the perfect line between the two sides and I found most of it, and still do, very funny. A suprisingly great film, and one hopes that Stern will do more acting in whatever film role he takes next, which looks likely to be a movie based on his "Fartman" character, which I believe is written by the same writer as "Private Parts". Whatever he plans next, he'll always have a quality picture in "Private Parts".

The DVD

VIDEO: This is an earlier Paramount title and like most of Paramount's earlier titles, this is a non-anamorphic transfer that looks to have been taken from the same material that was used for the laserdisc edition. While the laserdisc edition was very good looking for that format, the DVD edition only looks okay, but not as good as the image could look in the DVD format. Although most of it is clear and pleasing at a basic level, it doesn't look terribly sharp, with some scenes looking on the soft side. Detail is basically passable, but not great. It's not a terribly colorful picture, but colors generally look natural and don't exhibit any flaws such as bleeding. Flesh tones are natural, as well. There aren't many flaws aside from some slight shimmer, but overall, this remains a mediocre looking picture that would have gained improvement if it was anamorphic.

SOUND: Not terribly active in the audio department, the surrounds hardly get much of a chance to do any work during the picture. Dialogue is always clear and easily understood, and there are some hard rock songs that sound fine on occasion throughout the movie. Nothing great, but basically enjoyable.

MENUS:: Very basic main menus based on the cover art.

EXTRAS: Stern reportedly wanted to put together a special edition of this film, but Paramount would not let him. Unfortunately, they haven't included anything with this release. There's not even a trailer.



Final Thoughts Although it's not a special edition, the film is good enough to recommend at least a rental, or a purchase if it can be found online for less than retail. The final grade unfortunately suffers because of total lack of extra features. Paramount was silly not to put together a special edition - Stern has millions of fans that would have certainly bought a special edition and would have been happier with one than this basic edition of the movie.

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