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Safe Men (CE)
DVD disk
09.19.2006 By: Jason Coleman
Safe Men (CE) order
Director:
John Hamburg

Actors:
Sam Rockwell
Steve Zahn
Paul Giamatti

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A couple of geeky lounge singers find themselves mistaken for two expert safe crackers. When a local crime boss demands that they rob three safes within a few days or face death, the panicked duo apprehensively accept and the heat is on.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
SAFE MEN wants desperately to be a comedy, with just one small problem – it’s not funny. Light and fluffy? Certainly. Mildly amusing? Perhaps. But funny just never entered my mind while watching great actors like Rockwell, Giamatti, and Mark Ruffalo struggle with a script chocked full of monologues and slow pauses galore. Its low budget filmmaking at its worst – namely it shows. In fact, I sense that this film never would have seen the light of day, if not for the very high profile cast. But even a great actor needs a script that’s lean and mean (not fat and complacent!) and a director who can reel in the gold, while avoiding all the crap. Director Hamburg has not only ignored the crap, his film’s literally bathing in it. (He even manages to steal the SAY ANYTHING boom box over the head gag and make it both unfunny and unfeeling, a major feat!)

The cast is yet another who’s who of great character actors that are led astray by a wordy script and yellow director. Rockwell (why are you even in this?) is wasted, Zahn (who I hate most of the time anyway) continues to irritate, Ruffalo hams it up to the point of embarrassment and even the great Giamatti can’t pull the rabbit out of the hat for this one. Look, any film that can waste two greats like Michael Lerner (playing a crime boss with a ridiculous wig) and Peter Dinklage (again bro, why take this non-existent role?!) should go down in the record books as the Heaven’s Gate of directors. See the film if you want, the impressive cast on the DVD cover certainly makes it look enticing, but you really should just take my word for it and avoid SAFE MEN – it’s far from being a safe bet.
THE EXTRAS
Feature Commentary (with Director John Hamburg and actors Sam Rockwell and Steve Zahn): When a scatterbrained Hamburg starts off this commentary by saying “we’re gonna jump around cause we’ve got nothing prepared”, he’s not kidding. The mixture of a hyper Zahn, sedate but vocal Rockwell and Hamburg constantly trying to recall everything, is a recipe from hell. At around the fifteen minute mark, they all quiet to listen – should’ve kept that going guys!

Deleted Scenes: Fortunately there are only three deleted scenes here, so it’s like a band-aid, hurts only for a second. Can be watched Individually or as a Play All (4:04) .

Mexican Restaurant 1 (0:24): More mindless dialogue with the two workers at the Mexican place, boy is this a staged snooze-fest or what?!

Mexican Restaurant 2 (0:17): Why are these guys even in the movie?

Da Chop (3:24): A missing scene in the car with Rockwell, Zahn, and Giamatti that feels so slow and forced, it’s painful to watch. Even the Optional Commentary by Hamburg, Rockwell, and Zahn, can’t liven this one up. (Only saving grace, seeing Giamatti lose it and punch the car at the end of the scene!)

Tick (8:59): A student film of Director John Hamburg and I gotta say…it’s great! It’s a funny, super cheesy and schmaltzy, yet very entertaining short about two bumbling bomb diffusers. Based on this short, I would’ve given Hamburg some of my own money to make a feature!
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
When a DVD box boasts so many great actors, how could it possibly be bad? Well, where there’s a will, there’s a way and Director John Hamburg has turned bad filmmaking into a full-on Razzie Award art form here. This DVD’s only saving grace is the early short student film by Hamburg called Tick in the disc’s extras - if only the guy who made that movie had stopped playing it safe and instead simply just come out to play.
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