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Visual Entertainment presents
The Groomsmen (2005)

"Gay pride! Woo-hoo!"
- Mike Sullivan (Jay Mohr)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: November 14, 2006

Stars: Edward Burns
Other Stars: Heather Burns, John Leguizamo, Matthew Lillard, Donal Logue, Jay Mohr, Brittany Murphy
Director: Edward Burns

MPAA Rating: R for (pervasive language, brief nudity)
Run Time: 01h:38m:07s
Release Date: November 14, 2006
UPC: 855280001687
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D+ D+C-C B-

DVD Review

Ah, Edward Burns, how I've missed him. It's been a mere two weeks since I trudged through his slow-to-see-a-release-date 2004 opus, Looking for Kitty. He continues his quest for Woody Allen-ness with this 2005 entry, The Groomsmen. The former was a meandering yet brief (on paper) study in low-budget excess, but if that ran a long 76 minutes, making it through the 95-minute Groomsmen seems eternal. Perhaps Burns still has something he hasn't shown us yet, but his material is getting long in the tooth; hopefully he'll start playing his good cards soon.

Paulie (Burns) is a smart guy with a good job whose wedding to pregnant Sue (Brittany Murphy) is days away. He's got plenty of things lined up leading to the big day, and they involve not only his brother and best man, Jimbo (Donal Logue), but also his cousin Mike (Jay Mohr), and friends Dez (Matthew Lillard) and TC (John Leguizamo). Paulie is starting to have second thoughts about marriage, though, and it's up to his groomsmen to steer him in the right direction.

One can't help but feel through the course of this picture that Burns is just writing to hear himself talk. Not only is there scene-after-scene of constant yammering, but he gives each of the characters a big personal secret, complete with an eventual shocking reveal of their respective issues. The central story is touching, but the resolution of each character's plight is far too predictable, and wrapped up a bit too easily. For an independent filmmaker, Burns' finishes with a nice Hollywood-approved bow on top.

There are some genuinely endearing, heartfelt moments sprinkled throughout, but, believe it or not, they mostly come courtesy of Matthew Lillard, who's the best thing here. Not the always-worth-watching Leguizamo, not even the appealing Murphy. The usually goofy-to-a-fault Lillard tones it down in his portrayal of a loving father and husband whose head and heart is exactly where it should be. Dez still finds time to unwind and have fun with the rest of these guys, but he is their moral compass, without whom they could never function.

The rest of the ensemble cast is as annoying as their characters, including the usually reliable Donal Logue. He does a fine job showing us just how depressed and jealous of Paulie Jimbo is, but despite one specific issue, he really has no reason to feel this way about his brother. And he's far too abrasive and just plain mean to everyone he comes into contact with, which gets old fast.

The Groomsmen is further proof that the novelty of Edward Burns after the buzz for The Brothers McMullen has lost its moment. He continues to try and milk his limited success for all it's worth, releasing one mediocre film after another. If there was even a slight glimmer of hope in his last couple of projects, I'd be more than willing to get off his back. All he needs to do is take the time to write a tight, original story, cut about half his lnes of dialogue, and—here's the kicker—stay behind the camera. Staying out of the frame would be a step in the right direction.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Surprisingly, this is a nonanamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen presentation for a new film. Not only is the lack of anamorphic enhancement a disappointment, but the overall transfer suffers from an abundance of grain and dirt as well. The images are nicely detailed for the most part, and the colors are bright and lively, but blacks aren't very deep and contrast is inconsistent.

Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio tracks are generally pleasing and adequate, especially given the dialogue-heavy nature of the film, but the inherently dynamic nature of the 5.1 never comes to fruition. The hit-or-miss music blends in nicely as well.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Land of the Blind
5 Deleted Scenes
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Edward Burns
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Bloopers Reel
  2. Jay Mohr "The Outtakes"
  3. Music Video - "Four Cheers" by The Blue Jackets
Extras Review: A hearty collection of extras begins with an audio commentary by Edward Burns. As with most of his tracks, Burns shows us that, despite his films' lack of quality, he does know the ins and outs of the process, making this both entertaining and informative.

There's also five deleted scenes running just over 10 minutes, featuring a clip with John Mahoney playing Paulie's dad. The seven-minute blooper reel is funnier than anything in the actual film, and we get more footage with Mahoney. The cut footage wraps up with Jay Mohr outtakes that are moderately funny.

Behind the Scenes with The Groomsmen is simply a montage of on-set footage set to more of the film's rather annoying score. We also get a music video for the song Four Cheers by The Blue Jackets, as well as the theatrical trailer for The Groomsmen.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

If you enjoy Edward Burns' yammering dialogue and overall lack of visual flair, then The Groomsmen might be for you. Visual Entertainment's DVD doesn't help matters, featuring a nonanamorphic transfer and adequate audio track.


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