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Monarch Home Video presents
For Real (2002)

I am not advancing him money to buy his mother a house. See, this is why we need to sign more white rappers, they hate their parents and they don't buy them crap.
- Mac (Tim Reid)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: October 10, 2003

Stars: Tim Reid, Tamara Curry
Director: Tim Reid

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and sensuality
Run Time: 01h:35m:51s
Release Date: June 24, 2003
UPC: 723952076410
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D+ C-CC+ C+

DVD Review

Am I the only one getting tired of the classic literary analogy that filmmakers are putting on the least deserving films? First there was The Taming Of The Shrew meets high school in Ten Things I Hate About You, and even Les Liaisons Dangereuses disguised as Cruel Intentions. What is next, Heart of Darkness set is a suburban high school? The latest example of this unsettling trend to come across my radar is the "Pygmalion in the hood" creation entitled For Real.

Tim Reid stars as Mac, a successful attorney whose life is one of luxury. He has a housekeeper (Kweli Leapart) who maintains his large mansion far away from the streets where she spends her nights. One night after driving her home, Mac loses his direction and winds up in a bad neighborhood where he is assaulted by a group of street hoods, one of which happens to be CeCe (Curry), the niece of his housekeeper. Instead of convicting CeCe to jail time, a judge agrees to let her go free as long as Mac becomes her guardian and is legally responsible for her.

There are a lot of moments in For Real that smack of desperate attempts to make the film seem warmhearted and well intentioned. Unfortunately, the film becomes a mess of stereotypes that is marred by poor character development and an even worse progression of events in the second and third acts.

After a positive set up, the film careens wildly out of control with the introduction of CeCe to Mac's world. While the film relies on the fact that a mansion is far from CeCe's usual surroundings and thus creates a problem for the eighteen-year-old, the script paints CeCe as a spoiled brat who hates everyone and everything in her new environment. This would not be a problem if we did not already know that at some point CeCe would see the error of her ways and understand that it is her, not her surroundings, that creates her dissatisfaction.

More off-putting than the lack of character development is the central relationship between Mac and CeCe that often crosses the line into bad taste. A fantasy sequence in which Mac thinks of CeCe in a sexual manner is more uncomfortable than anything else, and it really takes away from the relationship that the script wants the audience to believe so badly.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in full frame, For Real has one of the worst transfers I have seen in quite some time. Colors lack any sort of vibrancy while the sharpness and detail are completely lacking. Edge enhancement and pixelation are large concerns throughout, and the print used shows signs of dirt and flaws.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround track for For Real is based in the center channel; the remaining speakers are given virtually nothing to do for the length of the film. Dialogue is average in quality as there are several dropouts, as well as some moments where voices sound muffled.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Bloopers
Extras Review: A handful of extra features grace the For Real DVD, though none is especially noteworthy. Three featurettes are offered, the first being a standard behind-the-scenes look that fails to offer any insight into the origins or making of the film; it is largely promotional. The final two featurettes are barely long enough to pass as featurettes. The first is an extended ad for the soundtrack title, The Music of For Real, while the other is a look at The Women of For Real. Each are simply looks at singing star Tamara Curry in action and shameless efforts to push a few more copies of the soundtrack as well as her records.

A blooper reel as well as the theatrical trailer round out the extra features.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

For Real is a film full of stereotypes and unformed characters that cause the overall quality of the film to be dragged to irreversible depths. The DVD is nothing to write home about, making everything about this movie decidedly average.


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