DVD Review By Garan Grey
FINDING AMANDA - Mathew Broderick, Brittany Snow, Maura Tierney, Steve Coogan. Written and Directed by Peter Tolan 2008. Rated R, 96 minutes, Magnolia Pictures
I found it curious when the publicist for this venture repeatedly referred to Writer-Director Peter Tolan as simply "the director" when asking me if I wanted to do an interview - as if the writing part didn't matter. Tolan in fact has many more interesting credits as a writer. However, when I mentioned this, suddenly the interview I was asked to do was cancelled!
This appears to be one of those movies you appreciate seeing once, but one wonders who will buy in order to watch it over and over. While our reviews are intended to focus more on the presentation of a movie than critiquing the film, I will say that I liked it. I laughed out loud a couple times, and appreciated the seriocomic (substantially autobiographical) story. Tolan makes his protagonist a sitcom writer, so there is an excuse to give Broderick a few quotable lines. They are far more glib than the average person, which he cops to in the commentary, but it's not an overused gimmick.
That said, the DVD is rather well produced. The menu is fun: designed to look like a slot machine, and not too obnoxious when left to run a while. The scene selection is authored exactly as all DVDs should be, but few are: The thumbnail scene pictures are shown four-up at a time, with a list of numbers to click to at the bottom, but it's all the easier to simply right-click your way through the whole thing, and this disc is setup to do just that, clicking through the scenes in sequence, then on to the next screen. The picture quality is good, and the sound mix is VERY good, making ample use of the split surrounds for both atmospheric effects and music cues.
Not many extras, but not many expected. There is a typical commentary with Tolan and Broderick, where they compliment each other's work a lot, and Tolin laughs at his own jokes. Some interesting information is imparted, nothing groundbreaking, but it's worth a listen if you liked the film. There is also a Q&A with Broderick, Snow and Tolan, videotaped when the movie played at the Tribeca Film Festival. This took place after they all hadn't seen each other in the year between production and release, so their memory of making the film wasn't exactly fresh.
FINDING AMANDA is a nice little movie, handled very nicely on the DVD. If the subject matter interests you, it is well worth a look (and listen).