DATE WITH AN ANGEL – DVD review

Only God in Heaven could create a physical beauty as breathtakingly stunning as French actress Emmanuelle Beart’s. Depressingly, Beart’s first American film was the hellish disaster “Date With an Angel”. Casting Beart as an angel was the only thing that the makers of the movie did correctly.

“Date With an Angel” begins with an engagement bash thrown for Jim (Michael E. Knight) and Patty (Phoebe Cates). In short order, Jim’s friends abduct him in order to throw a bachelor party for him, and Jim wakes up to find an angel (Beart) lying face down in his swimming pool. Since he has a hangover, Jim doesn’t quite believe that he’s met an honest-to-God angel (complete with wings). However, he comes to his senses and begins to take care of the angel, who has a broken wing. The rest of the movie busies itself with schemers who want to make it rich by exploiting the angel’s heavenly looks, with the spoiled Patty getting jealous of Jim and the angel’s coupling, and with Jim introducing the angel to French fries.

“Date With an Angel” progresses with a leaden foot. The jokes fall flat, and there is very little visual grace to the production. Not only does the film look like a cheap knock-off, it also feels sophomoric. Also, the angel falls to earth and immediately begins to slop kisses all over Jim. Is that heavenly behavior? The horror, the horror…

Video:

The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks awfully grainy. Grain swamps every frame of the movie, leaving the viewer no doubt that he/she is looking at a work shot on George Lucas’s mortal enemy–film stock. While physical damage to the print never seems too serious, enough cracks and tears appear to lead one to believe that a restoration wasn’t ordered for the DVD premiere of “Date With an Angel”. Also, the video image sports an extremely soft look that leads to heavily-lighted actors/objects hurting one’s eyes due to harshly glowing (and unfocused) light levels.

Audio:

An undistinguished Dolby Digital 2.0 surround English audio track accompanies the movie. There’s not much surround activity, and only a few directional sound effects grace the front speakers. Everything sounds a bit muted (perhaps due to dated and faded audio stems), and silly music/sound cues only serve to heighten the general groan-inducing atmosphere of the enterprise. To make things all the more unpleasant, the bass is extraordinarily strong, so you’ll have to constantly adjust the volume in order to hear everything given this uneven, unbalanced sound mix. (English closed captions support the audio.)

Extras:

When a DVD retails for $14.98 or less, you don’t expect much beyond the main feature itself. Such is the case with “Date With an Angel”, where the only extra is a theatrical trailer.

A cardboard insert provides a re-print of the film’s theatrical poster as well as chapter listings.

Entertainment Value:

Anchor Bay lays claim to many unclaimed gems (such as “Heathers”) as well as many unwanted travesties (such as “Flowers in the Attic”). I suppose it’s rather fitting, then, that Anchor Bay is the studio that is handling “Date With an Angel” in the United States. Some viewers may find it charming enough to watch during a lazy afternoon. As for me…I could barely stomach it. As much as I adore Emmanuelle Beart, I must admit to thinking that the movie belongs in the “better-forgotten-than-remembered” bin.

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