Blind Date Blu-ray Review
As one grows older, it’s interesting to experience the expansion of what constitutes a “classic.” Collectible items like cars, toys and memorabilia get painted with multiple layers of gloss as their year of inception inches further and further away. With films the same basic guidelines apply, except instead of scarcity or level of antiquity defining its worth, it’s the pure passion of an audience that can trigger a metamorphosis from a box-office flop to a rotation spot on the AMC channel. An actor whose films are a staple on that channel, and many others, is Bruce Willis. His career has resulted in a catalogue of “classics,” but back in 1987 before he ever uttered the phrase “Yippee-ki-yay,” he probably never thought that his first starring role in a feature film about the worst blind date of all time would ever be considered as such, even on a cult-status level.
Walter Davis (Bruce Willis, LOOPER, RED) always puts his work ahead of his personal life, giving himself very little time to socialize or form any type of romantic relationship. But when he desperately needs a date to accompany him to a party for a very important client, he lets his brother Ted (Phil Hartman, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, NEWSRADIO) set him up with Nadia (Kim Basinger, 8 MILE, BATMAN). Although she is gorgeous, Walter is warned that Nadia comes with the caveat of a problem with alcohol. Taking this only as a disclaimer against heavy drinking, Walter doesn’t realize that Nadia literally has an adverse reaction to even a single glass of champagne. Now he must not only deal with an out-of-control Nadia but also her semi-psychotic ex-boyfriend David (John Larroquette, MADHOUSE, NIGHT COURT) that has been following them the whole time. By the end of date Walter will find that the course of his life has been greatly altered.
Director Blake Edwards is known mostly for his work on THE PINK PANTHER franchise, and he was able to bring his slapstick, silent-film style and incorporate it into a romantic comedy. With rising star Bruce Willis just one year before he began to DIE HARD, Kim Basinger two years before her big “bat-break” and John Larroquette solidifying his hall-of-fame sitcom character of Dan Fielding on NIGHT COURT, Edwards had top prospects to carry out a script that probably would had faded into oblivion with lesser talent. Willis as a pure comedic actor seems like a parallel universe version of the now consummate and stoic tough guy, action hero. However, it was his inherent prowess for comedy that launched his career and when viewing his older material it takes a matter of minutes to become acclimated back to his David Addison persona from the hit television drama MOONLIGHTING. In BLIND DATE though, Willis’ character is actually a departure from that fast talking, private detective, but as the plot heaves one impossible situation after another at the reserved Walter Davis, he finally cracks and Willis is able to unleash what the audience of that era paid to see.
Co-star Kim Basinger is actually the most famous cast member during this film’s release as she was coming off the controversial 9 ½ WEEKS, a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in THE NATURAL and the cache of being a Sean Connery “Bond Girl” in NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. Basinger was able to exude much more than her sex appeal in BLIND DATE and demonstrated that she could handle a pure comedic role as part of her acting repertoire. As Nadia, Basinger hides a deeply flawed character behind her beauty until her weakness is exposed, at which time Basinger can only rely on her comedy timing and pure acting ability to make the character work. No one will ever mistake Basinger for Kristen Wiig, but she’s able to convincingly sell the character’s unusual reaction to alcohol without going over the top. Conversely she is also able to exhibit her range when the tables turn and sober Nadia must deal with Walter’s breakdown due to the repercussions of the night.
Even though BLIND DATE will be remembered mostly as an early Bruce Willis movie, perhaps its biggest laughs are due to John Larroquette’s David. Larroquette gets to use his full arsenal of talents as Nadia’s extremely jealous ex-boyfriend. His incredible comedic range allows him to transition from absolute calm and controlled to a frenzied maniac in the blink of an eye, and all with a believable hilarity.
Some might label BLIND DATE as a skeleton in closet of these now established stars’ careers, other will argue it’s easily a classic ‘80s flick in the same ilk of films like MANNEQUIN or OVERBOARD, either way if you grew up in the decade that birthed the piano key neck tie and were lucky enough to be one of the early adopters of the turn-knob cable boxes, there was no avoiding seeing this film at least a handful of times. These widespread, repeated viewings along with the legitimately hilarious and memorable moments in BLIND DATE are enough to garner the “classic” moniker from at least a modest amount of film buffs.
BLIND DATE BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 1080p/AVC MPEG-4, 2.40:1 Widescreen: This is definitely the best BLIND DATE has ever looked, but there was still room for improvement when compared to similar titles of the era that have now been upgraded to Blu-ray. The contrast, color and sharpness are all very good during daylight scenes, but detail suffers when it switches to night as some scenes are noticeably lacking full HD resolution.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0: The soundtrack fares pretty well as this is also the best sound that has ever accompanied BLIND DATE. There nothing exceptional going on, but the dialogue is crisp and clear and there are even a few nice touches to the action sequences that make them feel stronger than they ever were on VHS or cable.
Unfortunately there are no Bonus Features at all on this release.