Better Living Through Chemistry Blu-ray Review

Did you ever have one of those days where you wish you could just whip up a magic potion and everything would be all right? Doug Varney (Rockwell) isn’t having one of those DAYS…he’s having one of those lives.

Sam Rockwell in Better Living Through Chemistry

Doug is a pharmacist who recently bought his father-in-law’s pharmacy. All ready to start a new chapter he is dismayed to learn that “dad” has purchased a brand new sign for the store…with the old name still front and center. Doug’s wife, Kara (Michelle Monaghan), runs a fit/cycle shop in town and is the reigning town champ in the annual “Tour de” town. One night, while finishing up prescription deliveries, Doug winds up at a very fancy house. The front door is answered by a very fancy lady – Elizabeth (Wilde) – a self described trophy wife. She makes a move but Doug excuses himself. A few days later they run into each other again. This time no “excuses” are necessary.

Sam Rockwell in Better Living Through Chemistry

A fun little film that appears to have slipped under the mainstream rainbow, BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY is a film that aims to prove that all of your problems can be solved by what you find in an orange plastic bottle. With Elizabeth now a freeing presence in his life, Doug uses his inventory of pharmaceuticals to keep the party going. Not only do his concoctions allow him to be free with Elizabeth, they also help him deal with his bully of a wife and relate to his pre-teen son, whose “ninja code” escapades have gotten him suspended from school. Things go so well that soon Doug and Elizabeth are talking about getting Elizabeth’s husband (Ray Liotta) out of the picture permanently. And to top everything off, the action is narrated by the velvety voice of Jane Fonda. (sigh).

Sam Rockwell in Better Living Through Chemistry

It’s hard to believe that this is the first film written and directed by Moore and Posamentier. The script is consistently funny and has a depth one wouldn’t expect from a freshman effort. The same with their direction. The story flows smoothly, as Doug moves from one predicament (dealing with the missus) to another (a surprise inventory check by a D.E.A. agent played by Broadway’s Norbert Leo Butz). This is another feather in Sam Rockwell’s hat. Here he’s an everyman who allows himself to wake up to the rest of the world. Wilde is equally fun to watch. Couple this performance with her work in 2011’s also underrated “Butter” and she is becoming one heck of a comedienne. Monaghan and Liotta also deliver while Harrison Holzer, as the Varney’s troubled son, Ethan, shows a certain sweetness beneath his rough exterior. It’s always good to see Ken Howard, who plays Kara’s father, on screen. And, if I may give a shout out, it was great to see one of my old favorite Baltimore television reporters, Doug Roberts, as the local bartender. I haven’t lived in Baltimore for almost twenty years so I hope Doug appreciates the fact that I recognized him!

A fun, fast moving comedy that deserves an audience; if you want to feel better just “pop” this one into your player.


Video: Presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, the film is beautifully transferred. The colors are bright and the image sharp.

Audio: Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, the sound is well mixed. Scenes featuring overlapping dialogue are sharp with no dropout.


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