Lionsgate // 2012 // 102 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // May 5th, 2013
"He walk like he got a little sugar in his tank."
Chanel (Stacey Dash, Clueless) is a label-dropping shopaholic content with her life, until one day while out shopping with her boyfriend DeAndre (Jayceon "The Game" Taylor, Street Kings) she's arrested coming out of a store. Her parole officer, Ms. Grimes (Rolonda Watts, Days of Our Lives), puts her under house arrest, meaning Chanel is forced to move in with her Mee-mah (Bebe Drake, Sanford Arms). Detectives Simms (Cory Blevins, Parenthood) and Johnson (Roy Fegan, The Shield) keep appearing to harass her about confessing to the crime they believe DeAndre committed. She relies on best friend Franswah (Red Grant, First Sunday) to keep her sane as she struggles with how to handle her change in circumstances.
The less said about House Arrest the better. I had high hopes for the movie based on what I'd read and who was starring in it. But it's completely uneven. A bad movie is fine and I can enjoy it if everything in it is bad. Then it becomes a fun experience involving much laughter and groaning. But this film is inconsistent in every way. The acting varies from character to character, with Dash and Watts clearly in another (better) movie while Grant, Fegan, and Blevins are mere caricatures of stereotypes. The Game isn't really on screen enough to make much of an impression other than "meh", and there are some ancillary characters who serve no purpose other than to pad the runtime.
The script teeters as well, beginning as a crime movie, switching to a family drama, and then about two-thirds of the way through becoming a redemption film. It's a shame because House Arrest had promise. I could see a way all those genres could have been embraced, if only it was clear from the beginning what the stakes were.
But as it stands, I'm giving House Arrest a trip to the big house with no possibility of parole.
The disappointment continues in terms of technical specs, because of a lack of consistency once again. There are clearly audio problems in some scenes that should have been ADR-ed, the most unusual one being a quiet narration track. The video suffers as well, showing amateur moves, such as being unable to keep focus while panning, and, probably the most disconcerting, adding slow motion to scenes which didn't call for it. In fact, I felt the slow motion undercut the emotion it was intended to highlight. There are no bonus features.
I really enjoy Stacey Dash as an actress, but here she's just not given enough to do.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Rated R