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Case Number 01666

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Life Without Dick

Sony // 2001 // 96 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // February 1st, 2002

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All Rise...

The Charge

True love can be a very dangerous thing!

Opening Statement

I'm always a little surprised at some of the movies distributed by a few of the major studios. Life Without Dick is a prime example: here is a movie that stars some pretty big name talent (Sarah Jessica Parker, crooner Harry Connick, Jr., Teri Garr), and yet it was never released theatrically (which, you'll realize after reading this review, is understandable). It just seems…well, strange that these actors would star in little duds like Life Without Dick. I guess maybe they were friends with the director, or owed someone a favor. Either way, Life Without Dick is now on DVD care of Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment.

Facts of the Case

Colleen Gibson (Parker) is head over heels for Dick (Johnny Knoxville, Big Trouble, MTV's Jackass). Unfortunately, Dick has been cheating on Colleen and is planning on breaking her heart. Colleen finds out about Dick's "indiscretions" through a flaky psychic (Teri Garr) and decides to rough Dick up a bit by threatening him with a firearm. However, while waving the gun at Dick it accidentally goes off, killing off Colleen's sleazy boyfriend!

Enter Daniel (Connick, Jr.), an Irish mobster who's never killed anyone in his short career as a hit man. Daniel's boss (Craig Ferguson, TV's The Drew Carey Show) had set up for Daniel to whack Dick—but when Daniel starts to woo Colleen into a whirlwind romance (I won't spoil how they meet), Daniel realizes that his intended target is already a stiff!

It's frantic and wacky mayhem as Colleen and Daniel learn that Life Without Dick is a pretty wild ride!

The Evidence

"We're not the mob. We're Irish." This is Daniel's retort whenever he is asked about his dealings in the Irish mafia. That's also the funniest part of this entire movie. If you didn't crack much of a smile at that example, then you are going to want to steer dreadfully clear from Life Without Dick.

I can see how this "hit man falls in love with his intended target's girlfriend" movie had potential. The plot flips from the present time to flashbacks to give us insight into how certain events transpired. Certainly this isn't an original idea; Pulp Fiction also utilized this idea, and to much better effect. However, starting Life Without Dick I gave it the benefit of the doubt—I thought to myself, "Self, maybe you've discovered a comedic gem that no one else knows about." After watching Life Without Dick, I don't really want to talk to myself anymore.

It's not that Life Without Dick is a horrid movie, just a very unfunny one. Life Without Dick isn't unfunny in the Not Another Teen Movie sense (that movie just tried too hard, in turn achieving only about four laughs in total). No, instead Life Without Dick doesn't even seem to be trying for laughs. While I have no doubt that the filmmakers thought about making the script funny, it just doesn't come off as attempted comedy. I guess we're supposed to find it funny when Colleen goes into a building, whacks two guys unseen, and then slips back into the car and coos at Daniel that she's "ready for dinner." There are many moments like this in Life Without Dick; moments where, I assume, this was supposed to be funny. Like watching a six year old tell a "knock knock" joke, Life Without Dick's gags and humor are just dull and uninspired.

The cast seems to be trying to do something with the script, and I was especially impressed by Harry Connick, Jr.'s acting abilities. Connick was featured in such films as Copycat and Little Man Tate, so we know the guy has some acting abilities. In Life Without Dick, Connick shows that, if given the right script, he could be a good romantic comedy lead. Sarah Jessica Parker plays a somewhat ditzy blonde, a cross between her Sex and the City character and the bimbo she played in Steve Martin's much funnier irreverent comedy L.A. Story. This is my first time seeing Johnny Knoxville on the big screen and he comes off just like he does on TV: creepy and sleazy. The only really enjoyable thing about Life Without Dick was spotting the cameo players: model Claudia Schiffer as Daniel's ex-girlfriend, David Cross (Mr. Show) as Daniel's disgruntled cousin, and John Henson (ex-host of E!'s Talk Soup) as a goofy MC.

Life Without Dick should have been re-titled as "Life Without Laughs." It's fluffy as a marshmallow and even less substantial. Upon reflection it's perfectly harmless entertainment, but then again so is my ham radio, but that doesn't mean I want to spend any time with it.

Life Without Dick is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a fine looking picture that only shows a few slight defects. There is a small amount of edge enhancement during a few scenes, and due to the low-budget nature of the film there is some grain. Otherwise, this is a decent looking image with well rendered colors and deep, dark black levels.

The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. While this is an official 5.1 soundtrack, I didn't really notice anything spectacular about this mix. There are a few instances where the surround feature kicked in (i.e., when an audience in a theater gives applause, et cetera). Otherwise, this is a relatively subdued track with all aspects of the dialogue, effects, and music clear of any excessive distortion or hiss. Also included on this disc are subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai. However, I can't imagine that anyone from any of those cultures will have a burning desire to see Life Without Dick.

The only extra features available on this disc are some theatrical trailers for the Sarah Jessica Parker vehicles Life Without Dick, If Lucy Fell, and Striking Distance.

Closing Statement

I've seen funny. I know funny. I went to college with funny and dated his sister for two months. Life Without Dick ain't funny.

The Verdict

Life Without Dick is guilty of being one snoozer of a comedy. Case dismissed!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 87
Audio: 80
Extras: 30
Acting: 78
Story: 65
Judgment: 63

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Portuguese)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Subtitles:
• English
• Chinese
• French
• Korean
• Portuguese
• Spanish
• Thai
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
Genres:
• Comedy
• Crime

Distinguishing Marks

• Three Theatrical Trailers

Accomplices

• IMDb








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