Barry Munday – DVD Review

The saying, “You never know what you have until it’s gone,” may be true in many situations; however, in Barry Munday’s case, “You never know what you don’t have until they’re gone,” rings much more true.

Barry Munday (Patrick Wilson) is a guy who lives for women, even though women aren’t exactly flocking to be with him. Well, that’s not exactly true, as this man — who is by all counts completely average, if not somewhat below — still manages to score himself a solid number of one night stands at local hangouts. His lifestyle revolves around these hangouts, one-sided flirting with his female co-workers, eating pizza outside a movie theater while staring down the blouse of female employee, and pretty much hitting on (unsuccessfully, I should add) any woman within arms reach.

This all changes, however, during a freak incident at a matinee, where a father who isn’t pleased that Barry has taken an interest in his daughter, decides to give him an impromptu music lesson with a trumpet. Of course, by music lesson, I mean smashing the instrument into Barry’s — well, instrument, and in doing so, causing irreparable damage. Waking up in a hospital, Barry discovers that he’s no longer the man he used to be, and that both his testicles had to be removed due to the trauma. With his life in shambles, and his entire way of living thrown off course, Barry receives a letter in the mail from a lawyer, stating that a former lover (played by Judy Greer) is pregnant with his child, and wishes to have a paternity test done. Realizing this is his last chance at fatherhood, and maybe last chance at happiness, Barry takes the opportunity by the…horns, in an attempt to right the wrongs in his life, and fill the empty space, not only between his legs, but in his heart as well.

Barry Munday is one of the comedies that’s not overly funny, and yet, it’s still got plenty of moments you find yourself laughing, mainly due to the great work done by Wilson. Here’s an actor that I feel hasn’t fully been recognized for the range he can pull off, as he’s done some great work thus far in the industry, and should easily become a more recognizable name in the next few years. Speaking of recognizable, he’s definitely not in this film, as a downward parted haircut, a goatee, and a bit of weight helped Wilson drop from Hollywood hunk, to a goofy wanna-be ladies man, with surprising ease. The look works, however, as Wilson really takes this film on his shoulders, and helps drive it out of mediocrity city, and into average, yet charming-ville.

His supporting cast is surprisingly packed, with Greer playing his pregnant ex-lover, Ginger Farley, who he doesn’t even remember sleeping with. Greer has a thankless job here, as her character is the “victim” on some level, yet also the “villain” on another. She works well with what she’s given, as her character is almost made to be hated, and is so cruel to Barry (even if she has her reasons) that it puts the audience on his side. This is necessary, of course, as he’s the one who needs to change, and if he didn’t have to work for it, well, there’d be no real lessons to be had.

The remaining cast of Chloe Sevigny, Malcolm McDowell, Cybill Shepherd, Jean Smart, Christopher McDonald, and Billy Dee Williams all play their roles well, and really make the material stronger than it could have been.

Written and directed by Chris D’Arienzo (based off the book “Life is a Strange Place” by Frank Turner Hollon,) Barry Munday is a film that is filled with talent, yet never reaches for the stars. While it has its share of laughs, it’s not something you’d recommend for those in the mood for a comedy. On the other hand, it’s got its heart in the right place, and the performance by Wilson alone is enough to recommend the film to either fans of his, or those looking for a light-hearted tale of a man who had to lose everything he held dear, before he could find what was truly important.

The film is presented in 16×9 1.78 FF ratio, and looks good all around. The colours are sharp, as are the textures, with no distracting blemishes to take you out of the film. The 5.1 Dolby Digital sound is also solid, with no complaints coming from that end either.

Deleted Scenes – There are 12 deleted scenes, and as is the case most of the time, they were deleted for a reason. Part way through, you soon realize that the pacing of the film, which isn’t overly great to begin with, would have become unbearable had some of these cuts made it into the film.

Gag Reel – Here’s a six and a half minute gag reel, that’s moderately enjoyable, if not for the first gag alone. When Judy Greer points out just how slow she and Patrick Wilson are “driving,” it’s actually quite funny, as I noticed it while watching the film, and wondered how nobody noticed just how slow the “driving” video was playing during the car scenes.

Outtakes – At just over four minutes, the outtakes mainly consist of Wilson and Greer not being able to keep a straight face during their first dinner scene together.

Your “Manhood” and You – Here’s a three and a half minute “Self Help” video spoof made by one of the doctors in the film, who has a group he wants Barry to join because of his “loss.” It’s fun how old, and tattered they made the video seem, but it that’s about it.

HDNet: A Look at Barry Munday Here’s a four minute look at the film, which is basically scenes intertwined with Patrick Wilson, and Writer/Director Chris D’Arienzo talking about the movie.

Commentary with Writer/Director Chris D’Arizeno, Patrick Wilson and Judy Greer – For those who enjoy the film, there’s nothing like a commentary that is able to bring the main stars back in to talk about their time on set.

Barry Munday isn’t a bad movie, it’s just not an overly good movie either. When you read a statement like that, it usually makes you sway against seeing the film, but I mean it as more of a warning. While it’s not has hysterical as the case may lead you to believe, but it’s still funny, though it has more light-hearted charm than it does laughs. Patrick Wilson is the main reason this film floats above average, and for his performance alone, Barry Munday is at least worth considering.

Entertainment One Films Presents Barry Munday. Directed by: Chris D’Arizeno. Starring: Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer, Chloe Sevigny, Billy Dee Williams. Running time: 95 minutes. Rating: 18A. Released on DVD: May 10, 2011.

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