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SUGAR & SPICE ($25) is a likable, albeit quirky teen comedy that spoofs the idealized notions of high school life. As expected, head cheerleader Diane Weston (Marley Shelton) falls for the school's new star quarterback Jack Bartlett (James Marsden). In no time flat, Jack manages to knock up Diane, so the hopelessly in love twosome get married, despite their being disowned by their parents. Life goes on for the perfect high school couple- they stay in school; find a place to live and even managed to find jobs. Additionally, Jack remains captain of the football team and Diane continues cheerleading- even though she has started to show in a BIG way. Diane, realizing that they won't be able to make ends meet on the part time jobs that that they’ve gotten with their high school backgrounds, she decides to follow the example of Keanu Reeves in POINT BREAK and rob a bank. With the assistance of her friends in the cheerleading squad, Diane and company begins hatching the plan. Much of SUGAR & SPICE is pretty goofy, but I enjoyed the film and it had me giggling on a fairly regular basis. The appealing cast of SUGAR & SPICE also features Marla Sokoloff, Melissa George, Mena Suvari, Rachel Blanchard, Alexandra Holden, Sara Marsh and Sean Young.

New Line Home Video has made SUGAR & SPICE in full screen and 16:9 enhanced wide screen presentations. Of course, this review will only refer to the 2.35:1 version of SUGAR & SPICE. As usual, New Line comes up with a great looking transfer. The image is clean, bright and very well defined. Colors are strongly saturated, without a hint of smearing and the flesh tones are very appealing. Blacks are deep and solid, plus the picture provides a very healthy dose of shadow detail and good depth. The film element is just about blemish free, although a bit of grain does creep into a few shots. Digital compression artifacts do not present any problems.

SUGAR & SPICE features a pretty standard comedy mix that doesn't really push the limits of the Dolby Digital 5.1 channel format. Directional sound effects aren't abundant, but they are effectively deployed and pan across the sound stage in a convincing manner. There is even an occasional split surround effect, but they are pretty subtle. Dialogue is cleanly rendered, with excellent intelligibility. Pop music and the film's score by Mark Mothersbaugh are well integrated into the mix and reproduce with very good fidelity. Because of the nature of the material, the bass channel sits on the bench most of the time. However, when it does come into play, it sounds rather solid. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound enhance the amusing interface of the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Four deleted scenes are present on the DVD, although two of them are extended versions of existing scenes that had to be cleaned up a bit for the Ratings Board. Cast filmographies and character biographies are also present on the DVD, as is a theatrical trailer for SUGAR & SPICE.

SUGAR & SPICE isn't great cinema, but it is an amusing film and I had a good time watching it. But then again, I always enjoy watching attractive young women in cheerleader uniforms shaking their pompoms. Anyway, New Line's DVD looks great and sounds just fine. So if you have any interest in SUGAR & SPICE, you can't go wrong in picking up a copy of the DVD.


Sugar & Spice


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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