HBO // 2003 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 27th, 2004
"We're lazy. We're on the go. We've got food on the go. We've got Go-gurt. Yogurt for people on the go. Was there a big mobility problem with yogurt before? How time consuming was it, really?" -- Ellen DeGeneres
Comedy comes in all shapes and sizes. If you're looking for something tall, somewhat blonde, and just a little bit wacky...welcome to Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now. Fans of the comedienne have something to smile about with this new HBO concert available for the first time on DVD. Watch as Ellen ponders various human frustrations such as the pickle jar, changing the toilet paper, and the ever-monumental human sin: procrastination, which I'll elaborate on later if I ever get around to it. Filmed in New York City's Beacon Theatre before a live audience, Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now is your ticket to Ellen telling it the way it is...in her own nutty style.
I like Ellen DeGeneres. I know there are detractors out there who seem to have it in for her. After all, she did date Anne Heche, a serious error in judgment in and of itself. I admit that when she "came out" on her TV show Ellen I was a little put off -- not because she was gay (big whoop) but because so much emphasis was put on her sexuality that it seemed to overshadow her down to earth comedy -- suddenly everything in her life seemed to turn into one big gay joke. Ellen seemingly disappeared after her proclamation (and her show's end) until resurfacing or sorts in the mega-hit family film Finding Nemo (another home run filled with her trademark daffy wit). In Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now, the comedienne gets back to her roots with a lot of wacky, off kilter observations about life, love, and movie theater etiquette. DeGeneres' comedy should be accessible to almost everyone: her rants include everything from being gay ("I have to say something gay, otherwise people might leave here tonight going 'she didn't do anything gay! She's not our leader! What happened to our leader?'"), to typical niceties ("Even when we say 'How are you?' we don't mean how are you. We don't care. Just give us a 'fine,' or a 'good,' or a one syllable answer and move along."), to opening up a new CD ("What has happened with the packaging of CDs? These are angry, angry people, these CD packagers."). The nice thing about Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now is that the comedy is never overly sentimental, yet it's tame enough that the entire family can laugh along. Some of the bits are near classics: hearing DeGeneres muse about buying scissors had me in stitches ("Have your tried to buy scissors? You need scissors to get into scissors. What if you're buying them for the first time? How are you supposed to get in there?"). Overall this is one of the better stand-up comedies available on DVD. If you're a fan of either DeGeneres' brand of humor, or are just looking for a solid hour or so of giggles, Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now certainly fits the bill.
Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now is presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame. This is a comedy filmed in a concert hall so don't expect miracles. Overall, this is a good looking image, if nothing spectacular. The colors and black levels are all appropriately bright and solid. The image isn't as sharp as something like Lord of the Rings, but it doesn't need to be: you are, after all, watching a woman walk around stage telling jokes. What more do you need, picture wise? The soundtrack is presented in what appears to be Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in English (no mention is made on the package). The video portions of this disc are also adequate -- the dialogue, laughter, and minimal music are all crystal clear. Otherwise, no surround sounds or directional effects are present, and none are needed. No alternate subtitles or soundtracks are available on this disc.
The only extra feature available on this disc is a short biography on Ellen DeGeneres, presented in text format.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Ellen Degeneres Biography