Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 12th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2003
Director: Rocco Simonelli
Writer: Rocco Simonelli
Cast: James Lorinz, Joan Jett, Barbara Sicuranza, Robert Mobley
DVD released: July 12th, 2011
Approximate running time: 86 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
The Sweet Life was written and directed by Rocco Simonelli, a frequent collaborator of Roy Frumkes (Document of the Dead). Some of their more notable screenplay collaborations include, The Johnsons and The Substitute.
First off, let me say that romantic comedies are easily the genre that I find appealing. So when the chance came for me to check out The Sweet Life, I was initially hesitant to do so. That was until I saw that proclamation on its DVD box art ‘a romantic comedy … for people who hate romantic comedies!’ And while this helped soften me up for what I was about to watch. The end result was an underwhelming experience that never quit lived up to the aforementioned quote. In fact one could easily argue that is film is not to far removed from your garden variety romantic comedy that this film is trying to distance itself from.
Sure the film often tries to be edgy with its irreverent comedy, most of which is delivered by James Lorinz (Frankenhooker) in the role of the wise cracking brother Michael. And yet it is this exactly because of this type of subversive humor that the film never fully find’s it’s voice. Also this hit and miss attempt at humor makes it all the more difficult to care for the Michael character.
A few other areas in which this production comes up short is its poorly constructed narrative, predicable ending and inconsistent performances from the entire cast, especially its leading lady Barbara Sicuranza in the role of Lila, the object of desire at the center of this love triangle. One performance of note is Joan Jett in the role of Lila’s sister and while her performance is not to far removed from her own rocker persona. It is never the less the more engaging performance in this film. She also wrote and performed the film’s end credit music.
Synapse Films presents The Sweet Life in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. There are no problems with compression or edge enhancement. Overall this is another strong transfer from Synapse Films.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. The audio sounds clear and balanced throughout.
Extras for this release include a theatrical trailer for the film (2 minutes 29 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), outtakes (7 minutes 23 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), deleted and extended scenes (13 minutes 5 seconds – letterboxed widescreen), a featurette titled ‘The Making of The Sweet Life’ (34 minutes 54 seconds – 4:3 full frame / letterboxed widescreen) and an audio commentary with writer / director Rocco Simonelli, actor James Lorinz and actress Barbara Sicuranza. Though the bulk of the comments on the ‘Making of’ featurette come from Rocco Simonelli and Roy Frumkes, several of the cast discuss their involvement in this production. The audio commentary is a lively track that does a remarkable job of balancing the more production related aspect of this production with humorous remarks from the three participants. Overall The Sweet Life get a first rate DVD release from Synapse films.