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The romantic comedy is one of the oldest genres around. Over the years there have been good ones such as "When Harry Met Sally", "Sleepless in Seattle" and there have been bad ones such as "Down To You" and "Miss Congeniality". How does "Head Over Heels" fare? Find out on July 31st when Universal Pictures brings it to DVD.

Head Over Heels
The Movie
Amanda Pierce (Monica Potter) is an art restorer at the Met. She's the kind of girl who always falls for the wrong guy so it doesn't come as much of a surprise to her that when that her boyfriend is cheating on her with another woman. Amanda takes solace in her lone friend Lisa (China Chow) who recommends that she move out and move on.  So Amanda goes on an apartment search and finds a killer deal on a room. Before she even arrives at the apartment (which looks more like a loft) she gets knocked over by a huge dog. The dog's walker (Freddie Prinze Jr) comes over to her and apologizes and in true movie fashion she finds herself smitten with him. She can't seem to get a clear thought out as all her sentences come out jumbled and sounding desperate. Following the meeting she heads up to check out the apartment.  It's a lovely place the only thing is her roommates are 4 struggling models. There's Candi the Australian girl-next-door type (Sarah O' Hare),  the Russian Goddess Roxana (Ivana Milicevic) , Holly (Tomiko Fraser) the smart one and Jade the sheik all American girl (Shalom Harlow). Given her recent luck Amanda is unsure of what to do but in the end takes the place as it's really the only place she can afford. It just so happens that the man Amanda ran into earlier lives in the apartment immediately across from the models which can be seen from the models pad. Candi explains that his name is Jim Winston and he is a fashion executive. Amanda's hopes die as she figures he must only be interested in models. She finds out this simply isn't the case when he asks her out on a date. However before the date occurs Amanda witnesses a disturbing event from the window and she begins to investigate Jim.

"Head Over Heels" is really two movies put into one and as such it doesn't work. It's hard to believe that the screenplay was written by two of the screenwriters of "There's Something About Mary" - 1997's funniest film.  So many of the jokes in this movie have been done before and done better. Some of the jokes involve the classic trip and fall scene, the mistaken identity gag, and the jumbled sentence. In one soon to be classic scene Monica Potters character Amanda means to say "I've got to run" but instead it comes out "I've got the runs".  Occasionally there is a really good joke but when they come so few and far between it's hard to really remember them. There were at least one or two jokes that I thought were so clever that I wish I had written them down as I'm in no hurry to revisit this film.

Another big problem is that the movie changes tones abruptly about half way in, going from a romantic comedy to a chase picture.  As a romantic comedy I was only mildly disappointed but when the film took the unexpected change in direction I was left confused. It just got really unbelievable very quickly. While the movie was never going to be a comedic masterpiece up to a point this film was going to earn a mild recommendation. It wasn't as bad as everyone said it was but then it happened and the last 40 minutes of the picture seems to drag on for years.

The performances in this movie are a mixed bag. The lovely and talented Monica Potter (Con Air, Patch Adams, Along Came a Spider) looks too pretty to be playing the normal every day girl that she is. She does her best with the limited material and can't be faulted too much. Had this role been given to another less capable actress such as Denise Richards then the movie would have been even less bearable.

On the other hand, Freddie Prinze Jr. who quite possibly holds the title for the world's worst actor, once again plays his generic character. The guy who stands there, looks cute and acts dumb. Prinze Jr. who was tolerable in "She's All That", and "Boys and Girls" keeps getting worse with each performance.  Instead of seeing a character I see Freddie. He's been playing exactly the same role over and over again and it's time for him to either accept a drastically different role or move out of the spotlight. Freddie's Jim is just an older version of his Ryan ("Boys and Girls") who was an older version of "She's All That's" Zach.  Looking at his upcoming roles it doesn't look like anything different is in store for Freddie.

The models made up of a mixture of actresses and real life models add eye candy for the guys but don't really turn in very noteworthy performances. The exception being Sarah O'Hare's Candi who attempts and succeeds at both physical comedy and verbally comedy. Her character's constant stories about her Uncle Pete are some of the strongest comedic bits in the movie. In a cameo role of the "Guess Jeans Girl" model Noot Seer who would have gone to my high school if she wasn't modelling looks great. I run into her on occasion and it's great to see her in a movie even if she doesn't have any lines.

In the end there are more problems then redeeming qualities in "Head Over Heels". While it has it's moments there aren't enough of them to save the picture.  If the film had continued along the line it started then the outcome would have been different and a better film would have emerged. The presence of some really lame jokes and Freddie Prinze Jr were just too much to take. Not recommended.

Head Over Heels
Video
In an interesting move, "Head Over Heels" was shot in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1. I'm not sure why as this doesn't seem to be the type of movie that would benefit from the wider framing. For the DVD release Universal presents "Head Over Heels" in a beautiful 2.35:1 transfer enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

I think it's safe to say that "Head Over Heels" doesn't have the most compelling plot but what it lacks in story it makes up in visuals. Visually this film is a treat for the eyes (and no it's not just the girls). I can't remember a movie that was so visually attractive but lacked any real story. Detail is excellent, colors vibrant and flesh tones amazingly accurate.

However once again there are a few small problems that pop up here and there.  During some of the night time interior sequences I noticed that the image wasn't as crisp as the rest of the picture. Some shimmering occurs on the outside of a brick apartment building and there are few speckles of dust on the print used. Overall there aren't any major problems as Universal gives us another strong transfer.

Audio
Universal has been a big supporter of DTS since the beginning of DVD when it wasn't uncommon for them to release two separate editions of the same film, containing different supplemental features if there wasn't room on the disc for both soundtrack formats. With the invention of the half bit-rate DTS tracks the need for the dual releases was lifted and they began to put both soundtracks on what seems to be the majority of their discs.

"Head Over Heels" continues this recent Universal trend and features both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 tracks as well as a DD 5.1 mix in French.

"Head Over Heels" is not the kind of movie that you expect a stellar audio experience from. In fact of all the movies I've seen recently this is the one I was most comfortable playing in the wee hours of the morning. For the most part this is your typical comedy mix except for one thing. The Music. For whatever reason, the electronic/pop music score seems to be pumped up in the mix. I can't blame the sound mixer for trying to drown out the dialogue and trying to distract people from the on screen action as I would have probably done the same thing.  Despite the constant pumping soundtrack dialogue levels are dead on. Sure sometimes the dialogue is a bit louder then other times but it sounds natural and not forced. Surround usage is limited to the occasional ambient sound and some of the music. I noticed maybe 3 uses of the LFE channel and while this isn't U-571, I felt the use of the channel was justified. In one scene the use of bass actually made me jump ever so slightly.

This is a step above your usual comedy mix but not a big enough step to go up another notch on the rating scale. I'd describe the mix as a slightly better than average comedy mix.

Head Over Heels
Extras
In the past few months Universal has come under fire from a lot of DVD fans with the recent addition of their "Ultimate Edition" line of DVDs. The "Ultimate Edition" has been used to repackage existing titles that already exist on the market in other forms. While this has primarily been used to consolidate inventory on titles that had multiple versions such as "American Pie", "Patch Adams" and "The Mummy" it has also been used to add a few supplements to the discs and in the case of "American Pie" and "The Mummy" serve as a way to promote their upcoming sequels.

Now with the release of each new title to DVD fans are wondering if the disc they hold in their hands will be the definitive version of the movie or if 6 or 12 or 18 months down the line there will be a bigger and better version.  In this case I don't think you need to be too worried.

"Head Over Heels" is just your basic Universal DVD and as such it doesn't contain much in the way of additional features. In fact aside from the standard issue trailer and promotional "Spot on Location" featurette the only other extras on the disc are trailers for 3 other Universal pictures including "Bring It On".

Also included are some DVD-Rom features for those with DVD enabled computers.

Overall
You know how there are movies that are good but have bad parts? Well "Head Over Heels" is the opposite of that. The majority of the film is flawed but the bright moments really do shine. Universal offers excellent Audio/Video quality but in the end the movie falls short. If your a fan of the film then you'll like the disc. If not give Head Over Heels a miss.


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