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John Candy sadly passed away just under ten years ago. However he left behind an impressive catalogue of movies that he starred in. Renowned for films such as Home Alone, Uncle Buck and Cool Runnings, Candy was considered as one of the best comedians of the 80’s.  When I received this copy of Delirious I was curious, as I had never seen it. Filmed towards the end of his career, I was interested to see how it measured up against some of his other movies. Read on to find out how it compared.

Delirious
Movie
Jack Gable (John Candy) is a soap opera writer who lives a lonely life. He doesn’t have a girlfriend/wife, and the highlight of his average week involves getting his cable TV fixed. However, he is very talented at his job and his soap opera is very successful. The programme is a cross between Dallas and Casualty (a hospital drama for our non UK readers!). Gable is responsible for writing the scripts and also has a big say in who stars in the drama. He has a crush on Rachel (Emma Samms), who is one of the stars of the show. Unfortunately for Jack, he receives news from his bosses that she will not be in the new series of the show. Upset by the news, he tries to convince them that she is one of the main characters and the show cannot afford to be without her.

One day Jack clumsily bumps his head, and wakes to find himself in a hospital. This doesn’t seem odd at first, but then he notices that the doctors are actually actors from his soap opera. Convinced that he is on set, Jack gets confused when the actors treat him like a patient and do not appear to recognise him. He then realises that he is in fact in the small town of Ashford Falls, the setting of his popular soap opera. Somehow he has been transported into his own TV programme. At first Jack is terrified by the thought, but slowly he realises that he can turn the situation around for his own benefit. He recognises that he can control the events around him by writing them in advance.  Jack sees it as the perfect opportunity to win Rachel’s attention. However things don’t go to plan, and Jack finds that his plans backfire on him to epic proportions.

Delirious
I am a fan of some of John Candy’s previous movies, and so presumed that I would at least vaguely enjoy this one. Sadly I was presuming too much. I think the main problem with the film is that it can’t decide whether to be a comedy or a serious drama. I am struggling to think of any moments in the movie which made me laugh, and even the serious moments were not powerful enough to make me care what happened.  John Candy could usually be relied upon to at least add some quality to a movie. Unfortunately this is a film which he should have left alone. It has a poor script and feeble punch lines. Also, Candy doesn’t help the cause by playing his role in the way he does. I lost count of the amount of times he would do something unbelievable and then provide us with a smile that is too cheesy to mention.

Delirious is a 80s movie which should be left as a memory (for those of us who are unfortunate enough to have already seen it) and not revisited any time soon.  I find it difficult to make any positive comments about the film. Unlike previous John Candy movies which at least could rely on amusing moments to enhance them, Delirious hardly raised a whimper. It is simply not funny, or strong enough to stand as a drama in its own right. I would struggle to even recommend renting this film.

Delirious
Video
MGM can usually be relied upon to provide first class transfers. However this is not the case with this transfer. The movie is presented in widescreen 1.78:1. The overall picture is extremely grainy and one of the poorest I have seen in a long time. I say overall because at certain points in the film the picture was actually quite clear. Throughout the movie colour is vibrant, and a perfect example of this can be seen in chapter six. The characters are wearing bright red jackets which are brought to the screen in a realistic fashion. Skin tones are also accurate. During the movie visible artifacting is noticeable, however there is no visible damage to the print. Overall a slightly disappointing transfer.

Audio
We are provided with five Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. While not being earth-shattering, this track performs reasonably well. Dialogue is clear throughout, which is essential given the nature of the film. There are not many scenes during the movie which would have benefited from a better soundtrack. Most of the film is dialogue driven so the soundtrack that is provided is adequate.

Also provided are subtitles in eight different languages. They are as follows: Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish and Spanish.

Delirious
Extras
The only extra we get with this disc is a theatrical trailer. The trailer actually does a good job of selling the movie. I watched the trailer before seeing the movie and was actually looking forward to the main presentation. It is just over two minutes long and is a typical 80s trailer. It is quite slow paced but shows a lot of the semi-amusing moments from the movie. The trailer makes the film look like a good comedy, which is pretty impressive considering that it isn’t! That’s all you get for your money with this disc. It would have been nice from a fan’s point of view to have had more, but seeing as I didn’t like the movie I am not too disappointed.

Overall
Essentially the ideas behind Delirious are quite promising, but a lack of direction means that it is a failure in my opinion. The movie is a cross between ‘The Truman show’ and ‘Pleasantville’ but manages to fall short of the standards set by them both. The disc isn’t much better really. A poor transfer, uninspiring audio and minimal extras make this disc hard to recommend even to fans of the movie. If you are a fan then I suppose you should get this if only for the reason that it can’t possibly be worse than the VHS version. However, if like me you have never seen this movie before then stay away from it. There are plenty of better John Candy films that you can watch.


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