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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Dream For an Insomniac (1997)

"Never settle for anything less than extraordinary...or else life will suck. It might suck anyway, but it's better to suck with integrity, right? "
- Frankie (Ione Skye)

Review By: Jeff Rosado   
Published: April 07, 2003

Stars: Ione Skye, Jennifer Anniston, Mackenzie Astin, Michael Landes
Other Stars: Seymour Cassel, Robert Kelker Kelly, Michael Stern, Sean San Jose Blackman, Leslie Stevens
Director: Tiffanie DeBartolo

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: R for language
Run Time: 01h:27m:09s
Release Date: April 08, 2003
UPC: 043396100435
Genre: romantic comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BB+B+ D

DVD Review

Love can be a bear when one is picky: disastrous blind dates, online soirees that often lead to disappointment when the parties meet in person, non-stop lectures from friends beseeching you to stop being so particular, etc.

But hey, if there were instant matches for every boy and girl, we wouldn't have blues music, torch songs, Harlequin novels and charming little romantic comedies like Dream For an Insomniac. Set in San Francisco, the story centers on Frankie (Ione Skye), a sophisticated, bookish aspiring actress days away from leaving the City by the Bay to pursue her artistic dreams.

Prepping for auditions isn't the only thing on Frankie's mind. Primarily pessimistic in matters of the heart, she still clings to the hope that the indescribable man of her dreams will surface in a different environment. Yet as the old saying goes, nothing ever goes as planned, but sometimes in a good way. In the midst of a shift at her uncle's coffee shop, Café Blue Eyes, the newest employee arrives, a dashingly handsome young man by the name of David (Mackenzie Astin), with eyes as blue as the greatest saloon singer to ever walk the face of the earth, not to mention the inspiration behind Frankie's name, too.

In addition to smoldering good looks, David also proves to be Frankie's equal in terms of literary, movie and music references that range from Nietzsche to Kurt Cobain. By the eve of her eventual departure to L.A., it looks like love is finally in the cards for our romance-deprived heroine. But before you can spell t-w-i-s-t, in walks Molly, David's girlfriend of three years.

Temporarily retreating back to swearing-off-all-men mode, there's no way Frankie wants to return to the days of dating ex-frat boys turned sleazy six-figure lawyers. With encouragement from loyal best friend Allison (Jennifer Anniston), she opts to make David completely fall for her, setting up a pivotal last night in San Francisco that she or he won't soon shake off.

For most viewers, Insomniac's main draw will be Anniston (in a role dating back to her early Friends days complete with vintage Rachel 'do) and while she is very appealing in a supporting role, this film really belongs to Skye and Astin, who are warmly affecting as the two lovers obviously meant for one another. Veteran character actor Seymour Cassel is another bonus, providing nice comic relief as Uncle Leo, a role that would have been stereotypical in lesser hands.

However, the movie isn't without flaws: With only a bare minimum of on-location exteriors utilized, the movie feels more like a play being performed on a Hollywood soundstage at times. Additionally, first time writer/director Tiffanie DeBartolo's screenplay may be too talky for some tastes. However, the music and cinema lover in me appreciated the verbal pop culture references (a great dinnertime scene in which the principals debate over Eddie Vedder or Bono as the musical spokesman for their generation is a major highlight) as well as the background props and soundtrack references to Old Blue Eyes himself.

With a brisk running time of 87 minutes, this well performed, witty, simple love story doesn't wear out its welcome and is perfect fare for either a stay-at-home date or a rainy afternoon when one is in the mood for a movie that's undemanding yet pleasant.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Surprisingly well done for a low budget presentation, thus transfer is on par with Columbia Tri-Star's A-list offerings. Virtually defect free with warm, rich colors, almost no grain and a crisp film-like appearance.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Since most romantic comedy soundtracks do not bowl one over sonically, I was not expecting much, but I must admit that during musical passages, its vibrant, clear and startingly effective Dolby Surround mix really impressed me. With its wide stereo imaging and just the right amount of ambience emerging from the rear speakers, it's one of the better 2.0 tracks I've heard of late (and kudos to Frank Sinatra, Jr., whose very well done cover versions from his father's vast array of standards had me thinking it was the Chairman of the Board himself).

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Maid In Manhattan, The Sweetest Thing and America's Sweethearts
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Only three trailers for romantic-themed chestnuts in the Columbia catalog, nothing more.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

If you're in the mood for something light, undemanding and gently romantic, Dream For an Insomniac fits the bill.

 


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