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FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL ($30) is a very British, but very pleasing romantic comedy that brings together a couple against the backdrop of the four weddings and one funeral that both of them attends. FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL stars Hugh Grant as a typically British chap named Charles who has a problem with making a commitment. This problem never really bothered Charles until he met Carrie (Andie MacDowell), a comely American lass, at a friend’s wedding. Charles and Carrie seem made for one another, yet they are victims of bad timing and have a number of hurdles to overcome, including their own marriages to other people.

In addition to the two fine leading performances, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL features some wonderful character performances by Kristin Scott Thomas, Simon Callow, James Fleet, John Hannah, Charlotte Coleman, David Bower, Corin Redgrave and Rowan Atkinson. The supporting performances truly make this film wonderfully endearing. At times, the humor in FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL can be a bit too British for average American tastes, but the film has quite a bit of universal appeal, which is why it was a hit over here.

Polygram Video has chosen to present FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL in both Letterboxed and pan and scan versions on opposing sides of this DVD release. The pan and scan transfer is acceptable, but lacks the "film like" quality of a film presented in its proper aspect ratio. Compositions tend to suffer, making the pan and scan version seem like watching the film on cable. However, the image is colorful and nicely detailed on the pan and scan version. The Letterboxed version restores FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL to its proper 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, which sharpens the focus of the director and cinematographer’s intentions. The pan and scan version allows one’s eyes to wonder, while the Letterboxing draws your attention directly towards the action. The Letterboxed transfer features a clearly defined image and respectable colors. Digital artifacts were minimal on both the Letterboxed version and pan and scan versions.

The audio is encoded into two channel Dolby Digital, although my DVD player seemed to think there were 5.1 channels; obviously an error in the way the information was encoded on the DVD. Since there are only two channels of information, the matrixed Dolby Surround is the best choice for playback. The Dolby Surround soundtrack has an understated, but pleasing mix, which is well suited to the subject matter. Other soundtrack options include French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus give one access to the film’s theatrical trailer, as well as a music video for the song "Love Is All Around" which is featured on the film’s soundtrack. There are also biographies/filmographies of the filmmakers and cast.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 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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