- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: VC-1
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A
- Rating: R
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
- Release Date: November 3, 2009
- List Price: $34.98 [amazon-product align=”center”]B002LBKDYO[/amazon-product]
BestBuy.com: Purchase The Answer Man at CD Universe Shop with us for more Blu-ray releases at Amazon.comOverall The Film Video Quality Audio Quality Supplemental Materials
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It is rare that a romantic comedy comes along these days that isn’t completely ludicrous in its premise and is actually tolerable beyond its first twenty minutes or so. Writer/director John Hindman’s debut film The Answer Man is one such romantic comedy that strikes the viewer as instantly intelligent and charming with an air of mature believability. The film essentially follows three separate individuals, all lost in someway and looking for answers.
20 years ago, writer Arlen Faber (Jeff Daniels) penned a book entitled Me and God that went on to revolutionize the very essence of spirituality and corner 10% of the “god market.” It garnered innumerous spin-offs, even a Me and God diet book. He has now become a curmudgeonly recluse hiding away from the hordes of followers wanting to get all the answers to life’s problems from the man they believe has a direct line to God himself. When Arlen throws out his back one day he literally crawls into the office of Elizabeth (Lauren Graham), a single mother just starting up her new business as a chiropractor. She relieves him of his chronic pain and Arlen is instantly smitten. She just may be the woman of his dreams and the answer to all his prayers.
At first glance, Hindman’s film may seem a bit formulaic, but look again and you’ll find that there is more to the story. These are two adults with adult issues. Arlen has been dealing with a loss that he won’t let go of. Elizabeth is trying to be supermom to her son, but is a little overprotective, and both Arlen and Elizabeth are complete control freaks who have grown so accustomed to being alone they find it difficult to relate to having someone new in their lives.
Meanwhile, Arlen has been trying to sell off his stacks of self-help books at Kris Lucas’ (Lou Taylor Pucci) struggling bookstore, but to no avail. Kris is a down-on-his luck business owner just off a stint in rehab with an alcoholic father who is no encouragement, and he turns to Arlen for the answers in exchange for accepting a certain number of books per each question, only to find that Arlen may be more screwed up than he is.
The Answer Man may be all too sappy, and like every romantic comedy, it is pretty much by the book and comes to the predictable conclusions, but the chemistry is perfect, the premise is intelligent and the acting is top notch.
The Answer Man arrives on Blu-ray in a high definition 1080p VC-1 encoding from Magnolia Home Entertainment. The picture is quite detailed with strong shadow delineation. The overall source looks clean, although some specks of dirt and scratches pop up occasionally. Overall color reproduction is steady and natural, but flesh tones and skin textures seem a bit on the waxy side and overall brightness is a little dull. Still, The Answer Man is a solid, but not great, presentation for a romantic comedy.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is your typical, front-heavy dialogue driven mix for a romantic comedy. As such, it is very important that the dialogue is clean and intelligible, and on that count The Answer Man delivers. There is a reasonable amount of ambience and atmospheric sound effects in the surround channels and the film’s score sounds smooth and airy.
Supplements on The Answer Man feel a bit too promotional for my liking, especially the HDNet: a look at The Answer Man featurette. Everything offered here is really about everyone patting themselves on the back and won’t necessarily be required viewing.
The supplements provided on this release are:
- Characters of The Answer Man (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:10.14) — The cast members of The Answer Man discuss their roles in the film in this featurette.
- The Answer Man: from concept to creation (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:09.57) — The producers talk about taking the risk on making The Answer Man.
- HDNet: a look at The Answer Man (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:04.33) — A brief look at the film from the HDNet cable network
- Also from Magnolia Home Entertainment Blu-ray
- Commentary with John Hindman (writer/director), Kevin Messick (producer) and Lauren Graham (actor)
The Definitive Word
The Answer Man is a quaint romantic comedy that goes down easily and won’t make you cringe with horror at any awful, lowbrow humour. Making it even more appealing is this solid Blu-ray release from Magnolia Home Entertainment.