January 1, 2006

DVD Review: Undiscovered

I've never regretted seeing any of the films that I watch. Good, bad, or indifferent, I always take something away from it. Each movie usually has something to like about it, be it a scene, or a camera angle, or the music, or performance, or maybe just a single line of dialog. Who knows if these things are intentional or just blind luck, we may never know.

What does any of that have to do with Undiscovered? Well, this, uh, wonderful little film tested those thoughts. Once the movie completed, I couldn't help but think about what a wondrous waste of time it was. There are 90 minutes I will never get back. The whole thing was just so generic and lame that it made no impression on me. Nothing remained in my mind about it, except for the thought of the wasted time.

Undiscovered is the story of star crossed lovers trying to make a name for themselves. Young actors and musicians struggling to find their way, find support in each other, although it does not always work out the way that they had hoped. The characters are so shallow, and the story hinges on such a small chance meeting that without it, the entire exercise would come crumbling to the ground.

It all starts with a young model who, while on a subway in New York, catches the eye of a mind numbingly sincere singer/songwriter who throws her his gloves just as the door closes. Shortly thereafter Mr. Musician is headed to LA to try and become a star. It just so happens that Ms. Model wants to quit the modeling gig in favor of her thespian aspirations. So where does this dream lead her? To LA, of course! Where, in short order, she gets into an acting class, finds a place to live, and has a new best friend. It just so happens that the best friend also knows Mr. Musician. They all become their own support group.

It also seems that everyone involved know that Ms.Model and Mr. Musician are perfect for each other, except for the two of them. It goes through the motions of the requisite miscommunications, misguided attempts at support, and the pitfalls of fame. It is just so maddeningly moronic that I wanted to stop watching, but I forced my way through to the finish.

The acting by all involved is way below average. I did not feel a connection with anyone. The two leads are bland, uninspiring, and flat out dull. Ms. Model is portrayed by Pell James, she is an attractive young woman, but she needs better script selection. Mr. Musician is given a semblance of life by Steven Strait, who was much better as Warren Peace in Sky High. Rounding out their group are Kip Pardue, as Musician's brother, Ashlee Simpson, as Model's friend, and Shannyn Sossaman, as a model who gets between Model and Musician. The supporting cast includes Carrie Fisher, Fisher Stevens, and Peter Weller, and I feel sorry for all of them.

Meiert Avis directed the film, and he would probably do best to return to the music videos from whence he came. He last directed a feature in 1989 in Far From Home. The script was written by first timer John Galt.

Video. The transfer for this disk is not good. It is very dark and muddy looking. Worst of all the transfer is mis framed, it is off to the left. That became apparent during the opening credits where all of the names had their first letter cut off, plus framing that just felt off throughout.

Audio. There are two formats, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0. They sound fine, nothing to really comment on here.

Extras. There are a few here, but I could not bring myself to really delve into them.
-Director Commentary with Meiert Avis.
-Making of Featurette. This is a typical EPK piece.
-Deleted scenes. I had no desire to watch these.
-Music Videos. 5 videos including an exclusive one from Simpson.

Bottomline. Don't bother. This is boring, formulaic, and offers no compelling reason to see it. On a final note I would like to mention its performance at the box office. It has the biggest drop in its second week gross ever, 86.4%. In dollars this goes from opening with $676, 048 in weekend 1 to $91,748 in weekend 2. It would only last one more weekend, finishing at just over $1 million. Its DVD sales will most likely not be much different.

Not Recommended.


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