DVDSleuth.com is your source for daily DVD news and reviews.
Suburban Girl (2007)
DVD Released: 1/15/2008
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/19/2008
It's happened to all astute movie fans at least once. You're about to watch a movie which should have been "bigger", but it isn't. It may feature familiar stars, or come from a popular source material, but for some reason, the movie remains obscure. That's the case with Suburban Girl, a movie which features both of the criteria listed above. And when one begins watching a movie like this, they immediately begin looking for the "kiss of death" -- the thing which kept the movie from being more popular. Finding that in Suburban Girl proved to be a little trickier than usual.
Suburban Girl tells the story of Brett Eisenberg (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a low-level editor at a small book publisher. She loves her work, but she's often indecisive in her editing and becomes very attached to her projects. Things get somewhat worse when he boss is fired and replaced with the demanding Faye Faulkner (Vanessa Branch). While at a book signing, Brett meets Archie Know (Alec Baldwin), a powerful and infamous book editor. Archie is immediately taken with Brett and they have dinner. At first, Brett sees Archie as a potential mentor, but their relationship quickly becomes a romantic one. Brett is amazed by Archie, but she's unsure of this relationship with a man who is old enough to be her father. As Brett attempts to juggle her career, Archie, and her family, she soon begins to think that it may be impossible for a modern woman to have it all.
OK, let's take a look at Suburban Girl. The movie stars Alec Baldwin, who is fairly major star, and Sarah Michelle Gellar, who may not be a huge star, but she had a cult TV show, so there are plenty of people who know who she is. The movie is based on short stories from the best-selling collection The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing. So, why did this movie by-pass theaters and go directly to DVD? There are several answers to that question.
This may sound odd, but your reaction to Suburban Girl may depend on your television viewing habits. Alec Baldwin is essentially playing Jack Donaghy, his character from 30 Rock. Both Archie and Jack are very successful and sophisticated men who like to not only date younger women, but feel compelled to mentor them. The only difference is that Jack is slightly goofier. With Sarah Michelle Gellar, many viewers will initially identify her as Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. (Jack Donaghy vs. Buffy Summers would be awesome!) Yet, as the film progresses, one quickly realizes that this isn't Buffy. Instead, it's Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. Brett is younger and more naive than Carrie, but there are definitely some similarities. When Brett and Archie begin their relationship, the movie suddenly mirrors the Carrie/Mr. Big relationship from the TV show. It so similar in fact, that those familiar with Sex and the City will find the story of Suburban Girl very predictable.
But what if you aren't familiar with any of those shows, what then? Even then, Suburban Girl will feel recognizable. From the outset, most will assume that Archie and Brett will have a romance, and the ups and downs of that relationship will be fairly predictable. In short, there are no great surprises in this film. Because of that, whatever emotional impact that the movie may have had is somewhat dampened. Also, while many films have featured "May-December Romances", there's something about the relationship between Baldwin and Gellar which doesn't ring true and seems somewhat creepy. In addition, there's a scene in the film where Archie leaves a message for his daughter which, given Baldwin's real life struggles, comes off as awkward.
Having said that, Suburban Girl isn't a terrible movie, and it was certainly better than a lot of the junk that I find myself watching on a weekly basis. Again, the filmís true downfall is a lack of originality. That aside, itís inoffensive and mildly pleasant. Itís always a joy to see Baldwin at work, especially when heís playing a slightly cocky character. While Gellar may not be a good love interest for Baldwin, she holds her own here, and shows that she doesnít have to kick vampire butt to get attention. Suburban Girl may rarely rise above Lifetime Network quality, but it could be a good distraction for those in the mood for a romance that isnít a romantic comedy.
Suburban Girl gets into older men on DVD courtesy of Image Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. Given the fact that this movie was essentially dumped onto DVD, it looks pretty good. The image is sharp, but it does feature a noticeable amount of grain. Itís not necessarily distracting, but itís definitely there and at times, the grain gives the screen a shimmering quality. On the positive side, the colors look very good, and the tones do a good job of reflecting the mood of the film. The shots down the New York streets have a nice depth. The DVD offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a dialogue driven film, most of the audio comes from the center channel, with some nice stereo effects thrown in. I didnít detect any overt surround sound or subwoofer effects.
The Suburban Girl DVD contains only two extra features. Director Marc Klein provides an AUDIO COMMENTARY which is oddly introspective. He doesn't address the film's success (or lack thereof), but he does talk openly about what he likes and dislikes about the movie and the decisions which he made. He discusses the locations, the actors, and the various elements which went into the film. It's nice to hear someone be (somewhat) honest on a commentary. The other extra is the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the movie, which is letterboxed at 1.85:1 and is 16 x 9.
Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long