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Case Number 02576: Small Claims Court

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The Mating Habits Of The Earthbound Human

Sony // 1999 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 29th, 2003

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All Rise...

The Charge

A How-To-Do-It Guide.

The Case

From the viewpoint of an unseen extraterrestrial narrator (voice of David Hyde Pierce, Frasier), viewers are given a front row seat to the mating habits of pathetic earthlings. Shot as a spoof of National Geographic nature shows, our genial narrator explains to us the ritualistic ways men and women come together to procreate and repopulate the species. In the film, we follow the adventures (and often times misadventures) of mild-mannered accountant Billy (Mackenzie Astin, The Last Days of Disco) and sexy bombshell Jenny (Carmen Electra, Baywatch) as they meet at a local club, vie for each other's attentions, fall in love (and bed), and eventually produce offspring. Along the way, or trusty narrator will explain to us why women give men oral pleasure (to make sure the semen is ripe), what kind of make-up women wear (berries and chemically processed colors), and why it's so hard for the male gender to say those all-important three words: "I love you."

Hmmm…is it possible that I actually enjoyed a movie starring the buxom Carmen Electra? And one where she keeps (most of) her clothes on? Say it ain't so! I can feel the threads of my DVD reviewing career unraveling faster than Jeffrey Jones' acting career! The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human is a silly little flick that entertains more often than not. This is a bit shocking considering how stupid the set-up sounds: a "mockumentary" on animal mating programs featuring humans. While the idea seems fairly flat, The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human is actually a relatively funny film that gets a lot of things right. When compared to animals (which often happens in the film via nature footage), it's amazing how similar we humans really are to our four-legged friends. Men will reach in to smell what perfume a women is wearing; dogs sniff each other's butts. Women show off on the dance floor by prancing around erotically; peacocks show their feathers to gain a mate. Is it any wonder why men are often called "dogs" and women referred to as "chicks"? Director Jeff Abugov (who also was a writer for the '80s TV classic The Golden Girls) finds a funny balance between the story's narrative and David Hyde Pierce's droll commentary on men and women's idiotic ways of trying to get laid (after Billy and a friend discuss why you should wait various days to call a woman, play games with her mind, etcetera, the narrator quips "Please do not adjust your universal translator. We are not experiencing technical difficulties. This is a human thing. It makes no sense to us, either"). The two leads (Electra and Astin) are a bit bland but work well in their roles as the star crossed, vegetation eating lovers. Fans of Carmen Electra should relish this film—I have the feeling that it's the best work she'll ever do (now if she'd just wipe six pounds of make-up off her face…). Clipping along at about 90 minutes, The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human finds a few laughs along the way and ends right before it wears out its welcome. As a full-blown comedy it isn't great, but as a romantic chuckle you could do much, much worse. Now back to our regularly scheduled review…

The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. While the image doesn't jump off the screen, the transfer is very appropriate with solid colors and dark black levels throughout. Otherwise there isn't much to complain about—the picture is very apt for the film it's supporting. The soundtrack is presented in a mediocre Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround mix in English. Much like the video presentation, this audio track isn't anything to write home about—hardly a directional effect can be found on this track. However, the mix is free of hiss or distortion, and that's about all you can ask for on a film of this budget. Also included on this disc are English, Spanish, and Japanese subtitles.

The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human features only two supplements; the first is a commentary track by director Jeff Abugov. As far as commentary tracks go, this one is only mediocre. Though the director is genial and very chatty, the fact remains that the movie isn't the type of film that needs lengthy explanations about the production or story. That being said, there are a few interesting tidbits about the screenplay's origins (it all goes back to the blowjob scene) and the casting of the film. The second supplement is a batch of theatrical trailers for the chick flick Charlie's Angels, New Best Friend, The Sweetest Thing, and My Best Friend's Wedding.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 81

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
• English
• Japanese
• Spanish
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Comedy

Distinguishing Marks

• Theatrical Trailers
• Commentary by Director Jeff Abugov


• IMDb

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