- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH
- Region: A
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Image Entertainment
- Blu-ray Disc Release Date: September 29, 2009
- List Price: $35.98
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In the off-kilter world of romantic comedies, reality is often left by the wayside and love always conquers the day. Back here in the real world, however, society actually lives by a system of imposed checks and balances, rules and regulations, boundaries and borders that are meant to keep the world from spinning completely out of control and into total chaos.
In writer/director Stephen Belber’s romantic comedy, Management, his male protagonist, Mike (Steve Zahn), is naturally immune to the rules of society and takes it upon himself to do what would here in the real world pass as stalk the woman he has so helplessly fallen in love with, Sue (Jennifer Aniston). When Sue stops over at the motel owned by Mike’s parents on a business trip, he tentatively courts the all-business-no-play corporate art salesperson, and she eventually relents the morning of her departure with a quickie in the Laundromat.
Aimless slacker Mike then takes it upon himself to fly out to Sue’s hometown in Baltimore and pay her an unexpected visit and the two strike up what is an uneasy romance at best. Sue sends Mike packing back home, telling him its over, they can’t be together, but he determines to change his life around so he can be with her. Finding out that she has quit her job and moved to Washington State to get back together with her ex-boyfriend, an ex-punk rocker-cum-organic yogurt magnate named Jango (Woody Harrelson), Mike once again takes off and follows Sue to Washington, this time parachuting right into Jango’s pool.
I’m sure at this point most women would be reaching for the phone and dialing 911 to call the police, but not in romantic comedy world. Sue thinks it’s sweet that Mike shows up, parachutes into her pool, and disrupts her life with her rich, successful boyfriend who’s willing to take care of her.
It’s all okay, however, because Mike lets Sue see that she’s been so busy taking care of others (she likes to hand out food vouchers to the homeless, and whatnot) that she’s neglected herself. Therefore, these two people in completely different places in their lives — one with an actual career and rich boyfriend, the other still living with his parents and working as the night manager at their motel with no money to speak of and, oh yeah, a stalker — can get together and fall madly in love, forever and ever, because, well, you know, love conquers all in rom-com world.
Lost in all of this nonsense, regrettably, is a strong performance from Jennifer Aniston, perhaps one of her best since The Good Girl; surprising given the quality of the material here. Even Steve Zahn’s goofiness is less annoying than usual and more believably charming.
Management arrives with its 1.85:1 aspect ratio intact in an AVC/MPEG-4 10-80p/24 high definition encoding from Image Entertainment. Although a competent encoding, the film hardly sparkles as high definition material. There are moments when Management looks vibrant and detailed and others when it’s dull and lifeless. The film’s often suppressed and surreal color palette doesn’t help the softness that creeps into the image on occasion either. At least flesh tones are natural throughout and shadow detail is strong in the darker scenes.
Management is provided with a competent lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that is certainly not exciting, but it gets the job done for this dialogue-driven romantic comedy. The surround channels are filled with an ample amount of ambient information that keeps the mix from sounding overly dry or still and dialogue is clear and full in the center channel. I did, however, notice one encoding glitch early on that was in Chapter 2 when Jennifer Aniston says she sells motel paintings. The sound very audibly pops and drops out right around what I assume are the words “sell motel,” because I caught “paintings,” and figured out later on in the film that she was a corporate art salesperson. I went back to double check that it wasn’t a one-time glitch, and sure enough, it happened again in the same spot. Glitches aside, the overall sound was quite pleasing for this sort of film. There were even some lower frequencies extended down to the mid-lower range that helped to give the musical accompaniment a nice lift.
Supplements for Management are slim and all video extras are disappointingly provided only in standard definition making this release feel rather bare bones, particularly at a list price of $35.98.
The supplements available on this release are:
- Commentary by Steve Zahn and Director Stephen Belber
- Deleted Scenes (1.85:1; 480i/60):
- The Piano Lesson
- Mike Gets Beat Up
- Sex Advice from Barry
- Mike and Jed Do Yoga
- Mike Does Coke
- Punk Theory-Dog Demo
- Mom’s Ashes
- Josh Lucas — Local Porn Star
- Gag Reel (1.85:1; 480i/60; 0:12.41)
- Trailer (1.85:1; 480i/60)
The Definitive Word
When will someone make another great romantic comedy that is actually believable? Most of the time, they are neither funny, nor romantic. They are even so far outside of believability that they should just be labeled fantasy and be done with it. It’s sad to see solid performances from Aniston and Zahn not put to better use. I’m sure Management will have its fans, but as a romantic comedy, it falls flat on the comedy, and it is a mess of a romantic premise.