Georgia Rule – DVD Review

Directed by:
Garry Marshall

Starring:
Lindsay Lohan … Rachel Wilcox
Felicity Huffman … Lilly
Jane Fonda … Georgia
Dermot Mulroney … Dr. Simon Ward
Cary Elwes … Arnold
Garrett Hedlund … Harlan

Universal Studios presents Georgia Rule. Written by Mark Andrus. Running time: 113 minutes. Rated R (for sexual content and some language). Released on DVD: September 4, 2007. Available at Amazon.com.

The Movie


The trouble with Georigia Rule during its theatrical run was that it’s nowhere near what audiences were expecting. The theatrical trailer, which is included on the DVD, paints the film as nothing more than a chick flick that has Fonda, Huffman and Lohan living under the same roof with nothing but hilarity and odd couple type antics from start to finish. Instead of a light hearted small film with three generations of talented actresses, what we got was a story that deals with very pressing issues.

The film centers around Rachel, a young spitfire who likes to see how far she can push peoples buttons, who, after a series of “incidents” back home, finds herself transplanted from California to a small town in Idaho to live with her Grandmother for the summer. Nobody is particularly happy about the arrangements. Rachel is away from all of her friends and civilization as far as she’s concerned, her mother, Lilly, is forced to driver back to her home town and deal with a past she’d much rather have in her rearview mirror, and Georgia, Lilly’s mother, is stuck having to deal with both of them. When Rachel makes an accusation towards her stepfather, the family of women are brought together to try and work through their troubles to try and find the truth.


Baring anyone who may have been raised inside of a plastic bubble, a lot of people are going to relate to the family dynamic in one way or another. Tension between parent and child, trying to let people in but still hiding behind personal barriers as to not be hurt. Seeing Lohan’s character weave this intricate lie on top of a lie on top of a truth is at times realistic and touching to watch. And yet the whole movie never feels like its trying to say something important, choosing instead to skirt around the main issues.

The movie plays out in a way of seeing Lohan dressed in a series of alluring outfits, Huffman stumbling around like a drunkard, and Fonda is wasted as mainly a background character with nothing to really sink her teeth into. We then have a local Mormon teen who basically throws away all of his aspirations just because he thinks he’s fallen in love with Rachel after an intimate encounter on the lake. It’s a subplot that isn’t needed, is irrelevant to the main story between the leads and over stays its welcome quickly.

Never finding a balance for the humor and the drama is the film’s main problem. One scene in particular involves Rachel sitting outside on the steps listening to her Mother and Grandmother arguing with each other. A very important and private scene for the character, only to then be interrupted by local girls throwing toilet paper at her. It’s meant to lighten the mood, but all that part of the scene does is deflate the dramatic tension.


Scenes like this can be found throughout the movie, where it seems like either director Garry Marshall or writer Mark Andrus were afraid to see how far they could push the story’s dramatic elements. Choosing instead to downplay them as to not offend, trying to strike a balance so audience members don’t become uncomfortable during the heavier scenes. In doing so they never fully make it clear to the audience what is happening inside the characters or why the central story is so important for all three women. Causing the whole movie to be utterly frustrating without being a complete waste of time.

As a man in his twenties, I don’t fit the target demographic for Georgia Rule at all. Yet something about it stands out to me as something that wants to be real, only with a Hollywood touch. The trouble with most of the film is that the stuff it tries to pass off as humor falls flat and the drama isn’t as impactful because of the generic comedy sprinkled in to lighten the mood.

The DVD


Video:
(Presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen)
For once, a recent release that can be called nearly perfect with being hyperbole. Georigia Rule may have the best video presentation of any “non-stylized” film in recent memory. Colors pop off of the screen with not a single compression artifact popping up during its hour and fifty-three minute running time. The only things that can be pointed out as poor are several scenes where blacks drown out some minor detail or others that seem somewhat soft. The ironic thing about all of this is that inside the DVD case is an insert for HD-DVD, talking about how great the format is and yet this title has no current plans of receiving an HD-DVD release any time soon.

Audio:
(English, Spanish, French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
While not the most boastful 5.1 track on the market, the DVD does allow for all of the songs and dialogue to come out loud and clear. Being a drama-comedy it’s par for the coarse with all of the action mainly coming from the front speakers with little to no use of the rear channels or subwoofer.

Extras:

Feature Length Commentary – Sitting alone on the track is Garry Marshall. While not the most enthralling or informative track, he spends the time sharing what he thinks is most important when directing a movie. The disappointing part of it is that he spends more of the time watching the movie than actually commenting on it. Which leads to a lot of dead spots and making it tough to pay attention to him after being pulled into the story.

Deleted Scenes (9:05) – There are seven deleted scenes here along with three alternate endings. All include an optional director’s commentary with Garry Marshall where he explains why the scenes were left out of the final version. As is the case with most deleted scenes, few reveal any important details and were best left on the cutting room floor. As for the alternate endings, they all try and wrap up what happens to Arnold at the end but none of them add to the film in any substantial way.

Gag Reel (7:18) – Is a look at the cast and crew goofing around while filming the movie. There are a few laughs to be found but If you’ve seen one of these you’ve seen them all.

The Making of Georgia Rule (7:30) – Here you’ll find your standard “making-of” featurette on the DVD where everyone talks about how much fun the shoot was and how they loved working with everybody else on the set. They talk about what it was like filming the movie in California and using CGI backgrounds to give off the appearance of Idaho. Garry Marshall shares how he loved he script and how its been going around the town for over ten years with no one willing to make it. He then goes on about how it was the smallest budget and shortest shooting schedule that he’s ever worked with in his career.

The Women of Georgia Rule (6:41) – All three leads talk about their experiences working with the other women here. Sadly, it’s all spliced together from several EPK interviews. They all appear to have genuinely enjoyed working with one another, and Fonda especially seems to have taken a shine to Lohan while working on the movie.

On the Set with Garry Marshall (5:23) – The cast and crew have nothing but good things to say about Garry here, and it’s hard to imagine otherwise. A consummate professional in every meaning of the phrase. While running at a brisk five minutes, the featurette has the cast and crew talking about how wonderful the set environment was and how Garry likes to allow the actors to fully explore their characters and make suggestions.

And lastly we have the films very misleading Theatrical Trailer (2:33).

The Inside Pulse

While certainly having its fair share of flaws, there is something about Georigia Rule that makes it worth checking out at least once. Perhaps best left as a rental or maybe wait for HBO to pick it up in a few months.

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

5
THE VIDEO

9
THE AUDIO

6
THE EXTRAS

4
REPLAY VALUE

3
OVERALL
5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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