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Something Wild
BLU-RAY disk
05.09.2011 By: Mathew Plale
Something Wild order
Director:
Jonathan Demme

Actors:
Jeff Daniels
Melanie Griffith
Ray Liotta

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A free-spirit (Griffith) kidnaps a businessman (Daniels) and takes him across the country to let loose, meet her mother and attend her high school reunion, where her ex-lover (Liotta) awaits.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Never has a “Hey you! Hey!” lead to so much trouble.

Charlie (Jeff Daniels) spends his lunch hour with a calculator at the diner. He’s the kind of person who’s friendly and approachable enough to call waitresses by their name. He has no business letting loose, which may be why the wild thing named Lulu (Melanie Griffith) takes to him.

Lulu, with a sultry voice, Louise Brooks-style hairdo and big blue sunglasses, is sexy. It’s no wonder Charlie stays along for the ride to share a bottle of Seagram’s. It’s also no wonder he sticks around when she stiffs him on a restaurant bill, begs him to pose as her new husband for her skeptical mother and drags him to her high school reunion.

Here begins a road trip open to so many routes and no clear endpoint…until Lulu’s ex-husband/jailbird Ray (Ray Liotta, his breakthrough), looking like a discarded greaser from Fonzie’s early days, turns up and exposes her as {blech!} Audrey Hankel.

Here, Something Wild turns into something standard. The plot construes itself from a clever and comedic romp into a stale chase/kidnap adventure, with Charlie donning an “I Love Virginia” t-shirt and white Bermudas and circling Lulu and Ray around a handful of states until they wind up again in New York. It’s about halfway through the journey that we start to wish that Charlie would just give up and go back home, slap an icepack on his bumps and attend his kid’s little league game.

Nothing entirely original happens in this last hour, reminding us just how well the fish-out-of-water element worked in the first part of the film and how poorly it’s executed for every minute after.

Even still, there is a little something going for Something Wild: guided by tunes from David Byrne (whose Talking Heads were chronicled in Demme’s Stop Making Sense) and other ‘80s notables, the three leads (all of whom earned Golden Globe nominations) are all on-the-mark, especially Griffith, who has never been so entertaining.
THE EXTRAS
Jonathan Demme (33:15): In this new interview, director Demme discusses a number of aspects to Something Wild, including the script, the production design and the cast. Other points touched upon are his days working for Roger Corman, the style of the film and Something Wild as an opportunity for Demme to “start all over again.”

E. Max Frye (9:19): In this interview, screenwriter Frye sits down to chat about the inspiration for the script, Jonathan Demme’s “light touch,” having to rewrite the ending several times, coming up with the title, and more.

Trailer.

Also included with this Criterion Collection Blu-ray is a 16-page booklet with an essay titled “Wild Things” by film critic David Thompson.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
For its Blu-ray debut, Something Wild is given a very light presentation. This disc is likely to leave many fans wanting more, as the only special features are a pair of interviews and the trailer. Additionally, the video and audio are good but nothing spectacular. Blame it on the source or those behind the transfers, but this Blu-ray is definitely a disappointment to those who’ve been waiting for it.
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