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Since there were very few moments where I wasnít laughing, Iíd have to rate RAT RACE ($30) as one heck of a funny movie. Those looking for sophisticated humor will be barking up the wrong tree; however, anyone attracted to slapstick silliness is going to bust a gut watching RAT RACE. In the chase comedy tradition of ITíS A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD, RAT RACE shows just how hilariously greedy ordinary people can become, when there are millions of dollars on the line. RAT RACE opens in Las Vegas, where we find the recipients special golden coin brought together by an eccentric hotel owner, who offers them a chance at two million dollars in cash. Each is given a key to the bus station locker in Silver City, New Mexico, where the two million dollars is hidden, and they are told that whoever gets there first wins the money. One last thing- there are no rules! Once the reality of the situation sets in, the contestants are off and running- and willing to do whatever it takes to get to the money first. The delightfully dippy cast of RAT RACE features Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr., Seth Green, Jon Lovitz, Breckin Meyer, Kathy Najimy, Amy Smart, Dave Thomas, Vince Vieluf, Lanai Chapman, Paul Rodriguez, Dean Cain and an uncredited Kathy Bates.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made RAT RACE available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. This is a terrific looking transfer that benefits from the fact that RAT RACE is just coming off of theatrical release. The film element is virtually pristine, plus the image on the DVD is clean, bright and highly detailed. Colors are rich and vibrant, while flesh tones are totally appealing. There are no signs of chroma noise or smearing anywhere to mar the presentation. Blacks are accurate and contrast is always smooth. The dual layer DVD doesnít display any appreciable digital compression artifacts.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack comes as a surprise. It may not be action movie caliber, but it goes way above and beyond what one usually gets in a typical comedy. The chase and other larger than life situations allow for plenty of sound effects, which take full advantage of the discrete nature of the format. Sound effects ping around the entire soundstage and draw the viewer into the fun. Channel separation is cleanly defined and pans occur in a convincing manner. Dialogue reproduction is crisp and fully intelligible, while the actorsí voices sound pretty natural. The bass channel is solid and the filmís music makes good use of the Dolby Digital encoding. English and French Dolby Surround soundtracks are also present on the DVD, as are English subtitles.

Animation and sound enhance the DVD goofy interactive menus, which are similar to the filmís opening credit sequence. Through the menus one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few nice supplements. There is a nine-minute interview with director Jerry Zucker and writer Andy Breckman who talk about the film between clips. Six scenes from the cutting room floor are included on the DVD. The deleted scenes can be played individually or all together, plus they include Jerry Zucker introductions. Running under twenty-five minutes is a Making Of Rat Race featurette, which is more on the fluffy side than offering any real insight into the making of the film. The Gag Reel features the usual funny moments where the actors flub their lines, while The Giggles shows Seth Green and Vince Vieluf consistently breaking up while trying to deliver a couple of simple lines. Jerry and Andy Call the Actors features Jerry Zucker and Andy Breckman "cold calling" the actors at home to talk about the movie, among other things. This particular supplement can be both humorous and strange. Closing things out is theatrical trailer.

RAT RACE is a fun movie that kept me laughing for almost two hours. Paramountís DVD looks and sound great, so if you are interested in laughing yourself silly, donít hesitate in picking up the DVD.


Rat Race


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2002 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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