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Giving It Up

Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // July 1, 2003
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Shannon Nutt | posted August 4, 2003 | E-mail the Author
THE MOVIE

The premise for Giving It Up may seem quite similar since it's not that different than the one for 40 Days and 40 Nights, in which a guy is determined to give up sex and then finds himself tempted left and right with beautiful women. But the difference here is that Giving It Up was made several years before the bigger budgeted Josh Harnett movie, and despite what is advertised on the box cover, the giving up of sexual activity doesn't occur until an hour into this 90-minute film, and is only a small part of what the story is all about.

Also deceptive is the fact that the advertising of this DVD seems to promote that Ali Larter is the star of this movie. Indeed she is in it…but only for about 10 minutes of film time, playing a minor character. The real female lead here is Amy Redford, who plays the love interest of the main character played by Mark Feuerstein, a man who seems to have everything in his life but the ability to commit to one woman.

Feuerstein plays Ralph, a young man who is in the advertising business and uses the sexual promiscuity in his personal life as motivation for the ads that he creates. Unlike most sex-crazed characters we see in movies today, Ralph actually understands that he has an addiction problem and tries to work on it. Feuerstein reminds me of a young version of Paul Reiser, and plays the character with enough vulnerability that we like him, even though he has a "love 'em and leave 'em" attitude toward women.

Redford's character begins to work with Ralph at the ad agency, and she's so taken aback and repulsed by his obsession with females as sex objects, that he takes it as a personal challenge to see if he can become involved with her sexually. However, the more he gets to know her, the more he falls in love with her…that is, until his out of control libido gets him in trouble and he must find a way to win back the heart of the one woman he truly loves.

If all this sounds rather clichéd, it is…but that doesn't mean it's not a somewhat enjoyable watch. Yes, the storyline is tired, and the dialogue is written to accentuate the playful banter between each character, rather than in a fashion that would represent the way people talk in real life. However, the main characters are interesting enough to keep your attention, and several supporting roles (including Ali Larter as a model who gets involved with Ralph, and Dabney Coleman as Ralph's boss) are also fun to watch.

THE DVD

Video:
The movie is presented in the widescreen format (1.85:1), but the picture isn't very sharp at all, and somewhat dark – with noticeable bits of "dirt" and some grain on the picture throughout the film. The video is probably more of an indication of the original film source (I'm guessing the movie didn't have a huge budget) rather than any problems with Lion's Gate transfer of the movie.

Audio
The only audio offered here is a 2.0 Dolby track, but given that this is a dialogue-heavy film, the sound is serviceable enough. It's not great, but it's not so bad that it causes any major distractions.

Extras:
While the extras aren't expansive, there are more here than I would have expected for this relatively unknown film. For starters, there's a feature-length Director's Commentary from director Christopher Kublan. The commentary is kind of dry and not particularly entertaining, but the fact that time was taken to do one at all is somewhat notable. There's also just under 10-minutes worth of Deleted Scenes, which include the option of listening to Director's Commentary for these segments as well. The first minute or so of the deleted scene section is without audio, and the video and audio of all of the scenes is rather dismal, but for those who want to see more, this section should appeal to you. Additionally, there's a Music Video for one of the songs featured in the film, plus some full frame Trailers for other titles (including the trailer for this movie) that can be found by highlighting the Lion's Gate logo on the main menu and hitting the "Enter" key on your remote.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Giving It Up is definitely rental material, and only for those who enjoy romantic comedies with (somewhat) playful banter between the characters. Although this isn't nearly as good as Swingers, Singles or similar films in that vein, Giving It Up should prove to make for 90-minutes of reasonably enjoyable fun…at least if you can't find anything better on the rental shelf.
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