Grilled – DVD Review

Directed by:
Jason Ensler

Starring:
Kevin James …. Dave
Ray Romano …. Maurice
Sofía Vergara …. Loridonna
Juliette Lewis …. Suzy
Kim Coates …. Tony
Michael Rapaport …. Bobby
Eric Allan Kramer …. Irving
Burt Reynolds …. Cookie Goldbluth
Barry Newman …. Boris

New Line Cinema presents Grilled. Written by William Tepper. Runtime: 77 minutes. Rated: Rated R (for language, some sexual references and a scene of violence). Released on DVD: July 11, 2006

The Movie


Kevin James and Ray Romano are two funny guys, their hit shows on CBS prove that. And when the two starred in their own documentary titled: Making the Cut which aired on HBO last year, the two were a laugh riot. Bouncing quips off of one another at the tip of a hat, showing plenty of potential for a possible buddy movie down the road. So here they are in their own movie together, can they produce the on-screen magic many believe they’re capable of?

Grilled is about two door-to-door meat salesmen who are in a dry spell, Dave and Maurice are two guys who were at one time the top of their profession. Now they’ve found themselves at the bottom of the board and if they don’t make a sale, they’re both out of a job. So they saddle up and put their game faces on, determined to make a sale if it’s the last thing they do. When they lose one of their lead cards as it flies out the car window, the two are left with one chance, one customer, to win him or her over and make a sale.

When they arrive at the door steps of one Ms. Loridonna, the guys are greeted with much enthusiasm. But when they’re moments away from getting her to sign the check that would save both of their careers, a friend in distress calls and prompts her to leave the house immediately. Dave and Maurice, who don’t want to lose the sale, offer her a ride to her friends place of residence in hopes to seal the deal on the way over. Except soon they find themselves mistaken for a couple of hitmen, and once the real hitmen arrive and all four meet face to face, Dave and Maurice need to find an out, quickly. Which shouldn’t be any trouble for the two, since they both look at every conversation they’re in as a sales pitch.

Think back to all the classic comedies, what are the most memorable parts? Characters. Grilled lacks any development for its characters in order for us to care for them, let alone remember them. Which isn’t required for comedies, but is what separates the good from the average. The most we get here is in the first fifteen minutes and then it’s all shifted to the movies “plot” which while mind-bogglingly slow, doesn’t once bother to add layers to these characters outside of what we find out at the start. Maybe it’s just that people hate door-to-door salesmen and that’s the reason why they can’t muster up any care for the two leads. But the truth of the matter is that we never care what happens to the people on screen because we’re never given a reason to.

Everybody Loves Raymond and King of Queens showed both men have wit and charm, with natural humor that comes from them. Yet here they seem restricted with a story that doesn’t suit their brand of humor. They make their bread and butter by making people laugh at them while their characters are faced with an out of the ordinary task or dilemma. We get that here, but something in the story blocks them from their style, yet very much on the surface it feels like their material of comedy.

The film starts out off tilt, and from there continues to unravel at an uncomfortable speed, never once tightening up towards the end for a satisfying conclusion. Drags from beginning to end with no sense of a plot (not an interesting one atleast) and by the end it has no pay off whatsoever for the viewing audience. Which is a shame because the cast here is filled with fantastic character actors like Michael Rapaport, Kim Coates, Juliette Lewis, Burt Reynolds, Ray Romano and Kevin James. So with plenty of talent in front of the camera it seems that the main reason Grilled feels weak is because of an undercooked script with no spice or flavor to it.

The DVD


Video:
(Presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen)
While Grilled has a few issues with its story and execution, the video is, for the most part, very pleasing to look at. There is a noticeable amount of noise and edge enhancements to the picture but the overall quality looks very sharp and detailed.

Audio:
(English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo)
There isn’t much that takes focus away from the front speakers here, but the back channels along with the subwoofer do get used to some degree when music kicks in. But this is still a buddy comedy, so don’t expect this to be anything more than what is expected from the genre.

Extras:

Maurce & Dave and Company (15:08) – The first featurette on the DVD is a self congratulatory piece that you would see on premium cable channels like HBO to fill in space between their schedule. The director and many of the actors involved talk about what brought them to the project and how they feel about the movie. While the writer shares where he got his inspiration for the story from. This is your standard cookie cutter “Making Of” special feature. Romano seems to be the only honest person in the piece by showing his concern about the story.

Ray & Kevin: True Life Buddies Featurette (9:39) – Kevin James and Ray Romano share what it was like working in their first comedy together. The Featurette was filmed after a long days work and, as they point out, it’s almost 12:30 in the morning, so they’re over tired, cranky, and hilarious here. They talk about how they first met up and how they worked to find a pilot. More humor is found in this ten minute piece than almost the entire length of Grilled.

Deleted Scene: The Gormans (:30) – I’m not sure why this was put on, it runs half a minute, has nothing to do with the plot and concerns a part of the movie many people forget. I’d imagine it’s only here to show the ugly side of door-to-door sales.

Also included on the disc are Sneak Peeks for Face the Music, Getting Played, National Lampoon’s Adam & Eve, and Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Grilled
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

3
THE VIDEO

6.5
THE AUDIO

6
THE EXTRAS

3
REPLAY VALUE

2
OVERALL
3
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
If you’re a fan of anyone involved then you might enjoy something here as a rental. If not, then pop in a comedy from your personal collection that is actually funny.

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