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VIDEO SHELF

Original 'Italian' offers plenty of extras

October 09, 2003|Susan King

The Italian Job (2003)

Mark Wahlberg; Edward Norton

Paramount, $30

The Italian Job (1969)

Michael Caine, Noel Coward

Paramount, $20

One of the summer's most entertaining flicks was this stylish, energetic caper ably directed by F. Gary Gray that was loosely based on the 1969 Caine classic. The 2003 version boasts an attractive cast, which includes Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland and Seth Green, and two exciting chase sequences -- the latter involving Mini Coopers on the streets of L.A.

However, the digital edition is a disappointment. There's no commentary track; even the deleted scenes don't feature commentary, so what one is left with is a series of standard behind-the-scenes featurettes that are more self-congratulatory than informative.

By comparison, the DVD of the 1969 original is filled with extras included three intelligent "making of" documentaries featuring interviews with producer Michael Deeley and screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin, the film's only deleted scene and inspired commentary from Deeley and Matthew Field, author of "The Making of the Italian Job."

*

Hollywood Homicide

Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett

Columbia TriStar, $28

For the second year in a row, Ford has chosen an Edsel for a starring vehicle. The usually dependable writer/director Ron Shelton of "Bull Durham" co-wrote and directed this muddle of a buddy cop comedy set in La-La Land. Ford, who does seem to be more animated than usual, plays the disgruntled older cop who has a second job as a real estate agent; baby-faced Hartnett is his young partner who also works as a yoga instructor and dreams of becoming an actor. Along the way, they deal with the murder of a rap group, love affairs and an investigation by Internal Affairs.

The only extra is Shelton's commentary, which, like his movie, is as dull as dishwater.

*

Down With Love

Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor

Fox, $28

Director Peyton Reed's send-up of '60s Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedies really doesn't work, but at least it attempts to be different, and the fluffy, pastel production and costume design is to die for! Zellweger plays an author of a bestselling advice book for women; McGregor is the charming but chauvinist magazine writer out to prove her thesis wrong. David Hyde Pierce co-stars in the Tony Randall best buddy role, and Randall has a cameo.

The digital edition doesn't take itself seriously with a "Here's to Love" music video performed by the two stars; a blooper reel, seven featurettes, an HBO special, five deleted scenes and charming commentary from Reed.

*

The In-Laws

Michael Douglas, Albert Brooks

Warner, $28

Douglas and Brooks have a loosey-goosey chemistry in this remake of the acclaimed 1979 screwball comedy that starred Alan Arkin and Peter Falk. But the original was so funny, there really wasn't any need to remake this farce about two vastly different fathers-in-law to be. This version does have some laughs, especially in the first hour, but it runs out of steam in the stretch. The digital edition includes featurettes, deleted scenes and commentary from director Andrew Fleming. The best extra on the disc features a fascinating glimpse of Brooks offering multiple takes on two scenes.

-- Susan King

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