Well Go Usa // 2009 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 4th, 2010
I dare U 2 play.
As a rule of thumb, I tend to avoid films that replace entire words with a single number or letter; I would advise you to do the same. Is Triple Dog entertaining enough to earn a pass?
For Eve's sixteenth birthday, she and her friends decide to forgo the usual party shenanigans of talking about boys and exchanging pedicures, and head straight to the hard stuff: a game of Triple Dog. Essentially a dare game, the girl who refuses to follow through on the challenge will get her head shaved. What follows is a night of increasingly risky dares, as the girls push each other to pull off crazier stunts.
At the center of the tomfoolery is the sarcastic and troubled Chapin (Brittany Robertson), who might be hiding a secret about a student's suicide.
Triple Dog isn't that good, but I enjoyed watching it. Looking back, I realize not a lot of stuff made sense, the central mystery wasn't terribly mysterious, and likable characters were hard to find. Still, I went along swimmingly for the runtime, not once muttering to myself "When in the name of all that is holy is this thing going to end?" Small victories, I suppose.
I was expecting something dark and macabre. It's rated R and the back-of-the-case synopsis describes the dares as "extreme." And while the questions behind the student's apparent suicide certainly aren't appropriate for a "Babysitter's Club" book, the film never flirts with the implied darkness.
What then is Triple Dog? That's easy: it's a forecast on how I will develop my ulcer in 15 years when my daughter grows up. I mean, really -- yikes! These girls are ruthless, sniping at one another with malicious glee and not yielding vulnerability until the truth is revealed. There's some last-minute emoting, consoling, and making-nice, but it doesn't feel earned.
Take the dares; they're not extreme, but they are mean. Making the shy Catholic girl streak through the neighborhood? Forcing one of the girls to go to "third base" (Lord knows what "third base" means these days) with the guy she has a crush on? And all of it videotaped for presumed upload ease? Yeah, that's just mean.
Too bad there weren't any likable characters. Chapin is the headliner, but she's a hurtful little wench; why none of the other girls abandon her befuddles me. Even the popular "good girl" is pretty awful and treats the other friends like crap. The only moderately sympathetic figure is Eliza (Scout Taylor Compton), and she's stiffed with a pointless side-plot, a hard-to-swallow impromptu romance with Eve's brother.
But still I watched. The film had me rolling along, thanks to some nice pacing from director Pascal Franchot and a snappy, if humorless, script from Barbara Marshall.
The Blu-ray sports an improved picture (1.78:1), though the quality doesn't stack up against most HD transfers. There's a slight upgrade in resolution, but overall the video fidelity struck me as flat, and hardly a dramatic step up from an upconverted DVD. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix isn't terribly impressive either, front-loaded and light on the surround use. Don't count on any sexy Blu-ray extras either; all that's here are a handful of deleted scenes.
The movie's so-so. Like the disc.
Guilty, I guess, but this much I know: I need to really focus on my parenting
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Well Go Usa
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes