This week is weak on the home video front, but does sport a few comedies. For anybody in an early-August rough patch, the new releases are a good way to cheer up.
The only new release even worth a second glance is Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey. Compared to Death at a Funeral, Carell may just look like a comedic genius.
Then again, the Blu-ray re-release market brings one of the funniest comedies of all time to the enhanced format. National Lampoon's Vacation should provide all the laughs necessary to fill a week.
The following movies can now be found on DVD and Blu-ray.
Date Night - Whether you like him better on television as the bonehead boss of The Office or on the big screen, this is another comedic victory for Steve Carell. Financially, Date Night wasn't an overwhelming box office-topper, but did triple its production budget.
Two of comedy's biggest stars, Steve Carell and Tina Fey, pair up onscreen as a married couple looking to fire up their relationship, who get into some trouble they didn't see coming. The film thrives on cameos like Mark Wahlberg's shirtless super spy, who just so happened to date Fey's character ages ago.
If your home video collection needs a new look, this is the place to start. The Blu-ray also includes a Digital Copy for your computer. The special features include:
• Audio commentary with Shawn Levy
• Gag reel
• Extended car chase
• Directing off camera
• Date Night PSAs (three versions)
• Directing 301 with Shawn Levy
• Deleted scenes (BD-exclusive)
• Extended scenes (BD-exclusive)
• Disaster Dates with the Cast (BD-exclusive)
• Steve and Tina camera tests (BD-exclusive)
• Live Lookup (BD-exclusive)
Death at a Funeral - The American remake of Frank Oz's 2007 comedy of the same name didn't win over everybody, but plenty of people enjoyed it. With a $48 million worldwide box office, it doubled its own production budget. But, as usual, money doesn't equal quality.
With comedy cliches abound, this film can either be considered self-parody or just flat-out fun. I can't say I enjoyed it much, but if you like ensemble humor or miss your share of Luke Wilson, go ahead and pick up this title.
The bonus features include:
• Commentary with director Neil LaBute and Chris Rock
• Deleted scenes
• Family Album
• Death for Real
• Death at a Funeral: Last Rites, Dark Secrets
National Lampoon's Vacation - This comedy should be protected by the government the same way they protect works of art. Vacation is such a wonderful concoction of awkward family humor and crazy situations that it's difficult to compare it to any other film in recent memory - The Hangover is the closest comparison I can think of.
When I reach for a Blu-ray re-release I look for one thing - special features. Unfortunately, Warner Bros. is only dishing out two features for this release. There is a short introduction from Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid and Marty Simmons; better yet, you will find a commentary with nearly the entire cast that should serve as an informative window on the comedy.
With one of the best comedies of all time and one of the better entries from this year, this week isn't a total miss. But with only three worthy titles, there isn't much to be proud of if you run a home video store.