"CLASS ACT"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)

    Rated PG-13
    Available on DVD May 18
    Buy the DVD Here
    Studio: Warner Archive

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
This extremely liberal remake of “The Prince and the Pauper” features hip-hop stars Kid ‘n Play as a high school nerd and a juvenile delinquent whose school records get mixed up, and they change lives. Each one has to learn how to live like the other, while facing the struggles that each lifestyle offers. Soon, they join forces to stop a gang of thugs in the school.

WHAT I LIKED
Although the “House Party” movies were a huge hit, I never quite got into the Kid ‘N Play phenomenon, which is odd considering that I was in college when this movie came out and was close to the target demographic. Still, in retro-retrospect, I can see these films were just good, clean fun.

I can’t say that I was bored with this film, and it has a certain level of charm. Both stars fit their roles well and manage to be relatively cool while delivering a pretty uplifting message. The movie is solidly PG-13 with some drug humor and sexual overtones, but it’s pretty safe for that crowd.

Now that we’re almost two decades away from this film’s production, it’s easy to look back and marvel at the zaniness of the 90s decade as we marveled at the 80s about ten years ago. The fashions are over-the-top and at times ludicrous (and I’m not just talking about the high-top Kid ‘N Play hairstyle). “Class Act” gives us a bizarre mirror to look at fashions that were once considered so slick.

Oh, and there’s a bizarre cameo in this film by Pauly Shore, which I have yet to determine whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Remember “Son in Law” was still a year away from this movie.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
This movie was really nothing but fluff for the decade, featuring hot hip-hop stars of the day. I wouldn’t expect much more than that, but fortunately, the filmmakers seemed to know their place when making the movie.

There are some moments where the film becomes self-aware and gets overly preachy about living a squeaky-clean life. And not that I’m against that concept, it’s just painfully awkward to watch when it happens.

Finally, which it seems to be a standard thing in Hollywood for people in their 20s to play high school kids, but it was getting a little out of hand with these guys. Both of them were pushing 30 when they made this movie. Baby faces or not, that’s just crazy talk.

Oh, and I have no idea which one is Kid and which one is Play. I’m sure I can figure it out... but I just don’t have the energy right now.

DVD FEATURES
None.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Anyone who immediately knows the difference between Kid and Play.

Click here to watch a clip from "CLASS ACT"





"STRANGE NEW WORLD"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Available on DVD May 18
     Buy the DVD Here
    Studio: Warner Archive

    Back to DVD Review Home

   

WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The Warner Archive Collection has released another Gene Roddenberry-inspired TV movie about a dystopian future. “Strange New World” brings stars John Saxon, Kathleen Miller and Keene Curtis into the future after 180 years in cryogenic sleep. The explorers emerge in a society where no one seems to grow old, and people just don’t die. Using cloning technology, the society keeps eternal youth... but this perfect process is falling apart. It’s up to the scientists from the past to find a solution, if there is any.

WHAT I LIKED
Having grown up with a childhood diet of 70s and 80s television, I have a great love for the era even if a lot of it is utter silliness. After enjoying the goofiness of “Genesis II” a while back, it’s nice to revisit a similar story with “Strange New World.” Let’s face it, this is not great science fiction, and it’s the third failed attempt to bring a new Gene Roddenberry series to life. But the corny 70s schmaltz of this pilot is mindless fun for me.

“Strange New World” is loaded with 70s cliches – from the hairstyles to the futuristic togas offering us far too many glimpses of John Saxon’s nipples. This was the norm back then, and as weird as it looks today, it was cutting edge in the 70s. (If you don’t believe me, take a gander at the favorite series “Buck Rogers,” and you’ll change your tune.)

In addition to some pretty hammy acting, but also some decent performances, we are treated to an early look at Catherine Bach from “The Dukes of Hazzard” as one of the perfect people of the future. I know this deteriorates into a very low rent “Logan’s Run,” but it was fun to watch.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Everything you’d expect to find wrong with a failed mid-70s television series attempt can be found here. The production design is uninspired. The costumes look forced-retro. The relatively high-end sci-fi concepts are slapped together with the subtlety of a gorilla yielding a sledgehammer. The saving grace of the first part of this double-feature pilot is the relatively light storyline.

Sadly, the second half (which would serve as a stand-alone episode were the program picked up) completely falls apart. Having virtually nothing to do with the first half, the second episode is just plain boring, featuring a lot of people in rags running around in the wood, which seems to be par for the course in mid-70s sci-fi once the initial concept is exhausted.

DVD FEATURES
Like the rest of the Warner Archive, this has no special features.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Gene Roddenberry fans and anyone dying to get a long, lingering look at John Saxon’s nipple.

Click here to watch a clip from "STRANGE NEW WORLD"



    

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