DVD 9/11/07: Demetri Martin. Person., The Dog Problem, Grey's Anatomy: S3, Rick & Steve S1, Dirty Sanchez, Even Money, New Special Editions

PDF Clip: DVD 2008-09-11

Demetri Martin. Person. (NR, 2007, Comedy Central)
You might know Demetri Martin as that nerdy-looking guy who does those not-so-edgy but very funny “Trendspotting” segments on “The Daily Show.” On stage in front of a live audience, Martin is even less edgy, riffing on such hot-button topics as ice, rock/paper/scissors, the agility of the spotlight guy, signing casts, the Microsoft Word paperclip and what to say when someone asks if you’re ticklish. Fortunately, he’s just as funny here as he is there — a new-generation Steven Wright with more hair and a little more energy. “Demetri Martin. Person” drags ever so slightly when Martin pulls out a guitar and threatens to go Adam Sandler on the crowd, but even here it’s hard not to laugh at the totally random observations that, in another context, could bring a party or date to a screeching halt. That goes as well for the charts segment, which is full of funny information for which you’ll never have the least bit of use.
Extras: “Comedy Central Presents” episode, Martin commentary, bonus footage and deleted scenes, tiny poster.

The Dog Problem (R, 2006, ThinkFilm)
Solo (Giovanni Ribisi) has failed as a novelist, wasted a lot of money and time on therapy, and landed himself in some heavy debt with the wrong crowd (specifically, Kevin Corrigan and Tito Ortiz). The worst part? After all that time and accrued debt, the only advice his therapist (Don Cheadle) can whip up is for him to get a dog. Don’t ask why; like many plot points in “The Dog Problem,” the doc’s advice doesn’t really come with any logical prerequisite. Nor does the fact that just about everyone in the movie really, really wants the dog Solo picks out. It just sort of happens, and frankly, it doesn’t much matter anyway. The dog is adorable as can be, and that’s good enough. And beyond sporting a cute dog, “Problem” manages to be rather cute itself, a silly film that’s genuinely amusing enough to sidestep its occasional inability to explain itself. Go in with measured expectations, and the result may pleasantly surprise you. Scott Caan, Mena Suvari and Lynn Collins also star.
Extra: Cast/director commentary.

Grey’s Anatomy: Season Three: Seriously Extended (NR, 2006, Buena Vista)
As if a shot doctor, dead love interest and some extramarital fallout aren’t bad enough, “Grey’s Anatomy’s” third season hits the ground running with a little something called the plague. Once that bit of business is done, it’s back to the normal for the show — and that’s not always a good thing. Self-absorbed doctors whining like kids in a middle school cafeteria was cute two years ago, but it’s getting old now. Ditto and then some for the tired “will they or won’t they” between Drs. Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). What saves “Anatomy,” poetically, are the guest stars and unsung cast members (James Pickens Jr., Kate Walsh, Christina Ho) who sneak up on their more heavily-publicized castmates before rightfully stealing the scene from under their feet. That goes triple for Chandra Wilson, who sometimes steals entire episodes as Dr. (and whiny doctor babysitter) Miranda Bailey.
Contents: 25 episodes (several with extended cuts), plus commentary and three behind-the-scenes features.

Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in the World: The Complete First Season (NR, 2007, Logo)
You best can believe some parent somewhere will accidentally buy “Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in the World” for his or her kid. Maybe the Playmobil toy-like characters on the cover will seduce them, or perhaps the rainbow or the playful font will do the trick. In any event, despite the cute nature of this animated show, “R&S” most certainly isn’t for kids and probably will be too much for a lot of adults to handle. The show follows the half-hour sitcom format, but the content isn’t exactly coming to a network near you this fall. But that speaks more to network television than “R&S,” which regularly reaches for the shock stick but is more silly (and, after acquaintances are made, harmlessly likeable) than anything else. Some will knock “R&S” for pandering to stereotypes and doing little to raise the level of discourse on the topic, but a disclaimer makes it clear the show is more concerned with having fun with toys than moving the awareness needle in either direction. It’s merely an irreverent show about gays in much the same way countless other sitcoms are about the other 90 percent of the population, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Contents: Six episodes, plus two behind-the-scenes features, 12 shorts and cast interviews.

Dirty Sanchez: Unrated & Uncensored (NR, 2006, Dimension Extreme)
For those unfamiliar, “Dirty Sanchez” essentially is the British version of “Jackass.” In fact, if the DVD case is to be believed, “Sanchez” makes “Jackass” look like a PBS Children’s show. Sure enough, while the claim is an exaggeration, “Sanchez” does move the gross-o-meter up by a few degrees. But it does so at the complete expense of what really makes “Jackass” so fun to watch in the first place. Every stunt, and sometimes random moments in between, comes accompanied by exaggerated jumping around and attention-starved screaming, and the whole thing is akin to watching a stand-up comedian who belly-laughs at his own jokes in a desperate attempt to convince the audience he’s funny. The glibness that makes “Jackass” stunts and pranks so hilariously memorable is completely lost on these guys, and you’ll wish Dimension had included earplugs instead of a barf bag with the DVD. Still, if all you need to be happy is to be grossed out, you may not mind as much. Just keep that mute button handy.
Extras: Directors/cast commentary, unseen footage, barf bag insert.

Even Money (R, 2006, Fox)
Generally, when a movie comes equipped with a cast of known commodities, it’s a sign that the thing is at least watchable, if not necessarily good. “Money” definitely has that going for it, with Kim Basinger, Forest Whitaker, Ray Liotta, Danny DeVito, Kelsey Grammer, Nick Cannon and Carla Gugino all on board. Now all that remains to be explained is how one film tricked so many established actors with such a lousy script. The running theme in “Money” is gambling, and the multiple disconnected stories touch on everything from losing track of time at the casino to shaving points to getting a “lesson” from a bookie who wants his money. The fact that many of the characters don’t even cross paths is bad enough, but “Money” could’ve neutered that problem by at least telling some good individual stories. Unfortunately, a windfall of clichés creates an even bigger problem than our first problem. “Money” amounts to little more than a tired collection of gambling-themed Aesop’s Fables, and unless you were born yesterday, you’ve seen it all countless times before. No extras.

Roundup of the Week: New Special Editions on DVD
— “The Graduate: 40th Anniversary Edition” (PG, 1967, MGM): Cast commentary, director commentary, four behind-the-scenes features. Selected, marked DVDs also include a four-song CD soundtrack, though this appears to be a limited-time bonus.
— “The Return of the Living Dead: Collector’s Edition” (R, 1985, MGM): Cast/crew commentary, two behind-the-scenes features, zombie subtitles.
— “Troy: Director’s Cut” (NR, 2004, Warner Bros.): Extended cut of film, director introduction, six behind-the-scenes features. An “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” version also is available with special packaging, photo stills, an art book and pages from the shooting script. Both versions available September 18.
— “Wall Street: 20th Anniversary Edition” (R, 1987, Fox): Director introduction, cast interviews, two behind-the-scenes features, deleted scenes. Available September 18.
— “Commando: Director’s Cut” (R, 1985, Fox): Extended cut of film, director commentary, deleted scenes, six behind-the-scenes features, photo galleries. Available September 18.
— “Flashdance: Special Collector’s Edition” (R, 1983, Paramount): Six-song CD soundtrack, five behind-the-scenes features. Available September 18.
— “Saturday Night Fever: 30th Anniversary Special Collector’s Edition” (R, 1977, Paramount): Director commentary, seven behind-the-scenes features, dancing lessons, Fever challenge, Discopedia. Available September 18.