Admittedly you make some bad choices in life, it’s only natural. Of course I’ve made a few bad ones in quick succession, as I had wanted to review Suburban Girl because not only did I just come off of a near two month long Buffy the Vampire Slayer binge (it was my first time watching the series and yes, Angel was better, before any of you ask), but I’d also been recently enjoying Alec Baldwin’s performance in 30 Rock. So when I saw a film with these two in it, I figured “Hey, that should be fun!” Only the prospect of the two dating didn’t ever enter my head, so mind kind of leaked out of the sides upon discovering this fact.
From the writer of Serendipity comes an adaptation of a short story from the novel “The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing” in which Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as the Suburban Girl. Working at a big time book company, Brett (Gellar) is slowly working her way up to become the biggest editor in the business. This all comes to a crashing halt when her boss is replaced by a new one and Brett’s romantic life begins to heat up when she meets Archie Knox (Alec Baldwin). It isn’t long before the success she’s experiencing begins to take its toll on her and with family matters piling up, it isn’t long before Brett is met with more things than she can handle.
I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts on Suburban Girl for a few days now and it wasn’t until one of my friends asked me to explain it that I finally came up with a fitting answer. Suburban Girl doesn’t feel like a film; it feels like a TV show whose pilot we missed, but despite not ever really fully knowing what’s going on, we enjoy the ride anyway and are entertained by the events that take place in Brett’s life. Of course I mentioned above that my brains leaked out upon realizing that Gellar and Baldwin would be making out with one another, which may have made you thought that I have something against old/young relationships. On the contrary, I’ve no opinion either way, it’s just….Baldwin and Gellar? They fit their roles like a glove but they make for one of the most unconvincing couples I’ve ever seen on screen. Baldwin plays the role as more of a mentor than a real boyfriend and there’s just something off about the entire film.
There were elements of the film that I enjoyed and the writing itself was well done. I didn’t really dislike any one aspect of the film, it just didn’t work too well as a whole. Brett’s character is well defined for the most part and Gellar really filled the role well, but…I really just can’t get past her relationship with Baldwin in the film. It’s just too much of a speed bump; perhaps it’s just because she still looks like she’s in her early twenties that the whole thing just doesn’t look right on screen. Again, I’m going to stress that the age difference isn’t the issue here (the funniest jokes in the film stem from this), it’s just the actors cast don’t make for a believable scenario. I’m also still slightly fuzzy as to how Brett began dating Archie so fast, as their first meeting in the film had them interacting with one another like they’d met previously (again, attributing that to my missed TV pilot description).
While the film follows Brett from her career to her personal and family lives, it is also mixed with a heavy dose of literary references and jokes that I’m sure go above my head as I quite honestly don’t read books that often (or at all, really—DVDs are now pretty much the only form of media I watch on a regular basis), which is sad unto itself as I do enjoy reading, I just don’t have the time. Still, all of the references beckon to literary classics and are nothing I probably would read regardless. A shame, as the writing is really top notch and I’m sure the jokes are sure fire hits—I just don’t really have any idea what they’re talking about half of the time, so I feel like I’m missing half of the joke for the majority of the film.
Even with all of the disconnects in the writing, the film still manages to be entertaining throughout and at the very least is worth a Rental. There are too many tiny things about the film that don’t fire on all cylinders to really recommend it—it’s a good time for the first run through, but I don’t foresee this one ever getting a second spin in the DVD player.
Arriving in a single disc amaray DVD case from Image Entertainment, Suburban Girl comes with a solid 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer and a 5.1 surround track, as well as easy to navigate menus that reflect the cover and disc art. There’s not a whole lot of flair to be had with this release—the extras are slim and there’s really nothing too much to explore in the film once the credits role.
Still, let’s move onto the first extra on the set: the director’s commentary. First time director Marc Klein is eager to begin the commentary track and wastes no time professing his joy over the film and how it turned out. Klein does point out a few shortcomings, but most of the track is upbeat and fun to listen to. He also makes a point of first time directors pointing out their methods on the commentary tracks, as he feels that is the new director’s “duty.” Noble, but there wasn’t too much in Suburban Girl that I’d called inspired directing…not that it was bad in the least, just nothing really jumped out at me.
Finally we have…the trailer. Yup, the trailer is the only other extra on this DVD. The trailer actually represents the film in a slightly different light than it actually is (shocking, I know), so it’s almost worth watching for that alone. Not really, but I was curious as to how the film was promoted, as…man, I just can’t get over the Baldwin/Gellar aspect.
So in the end the DVDs only one step away from being barebones, but like the film it earns a Rental stamp—one viewing should be enough for even the biggest romantic comedy fan.
Suburban Girl is now available on DVD.