Black Sheep (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Chris Farley will be missed and that’s no lie. Like John Belushi before him, his sheer girth practically demanded physical humor for a choice of living (as an actor, anyway). With his success in “Tommy Boy” along with his partner-in-crime, David Spade another teaming between the two was inevitable. I believe that if Farley had not died, we’d have seen a few more of these movies by now, but that’s purely speculation. A twist on what made their previous movie such a big success, we find more of the same with their outing in “Black Sheep”. Ironically enough, it’s Tim Matheson who played the immortal role of “Otter” in Animal House opposite John Belushi. Coincidence? I think not… While I enjoyed “Tommy Boy” more, this has it’s moments, so let’s see what it’s all about.

Mike Donnelley (Chris Farley) and his brother Al (Tim Matheson) are doing ok. Al is running for Governor of the great state of Washington, but it’s Mike who is an embarrassment to the family name. Loyal underling Steve Dodds (David Spade) volunteers to help out with the campaign in order to gain favor with Al and hopefully be appointed a cushy position when and if Al is elected. But it’s Steve’s luck that teams him with Mike and the two go into their old schtick. It works. Again. It’s no joke or coincidence that the film hinges on Farley’s physical humor. If he’s getting chased by dogs or running a van into an old movie theater, it’s all the same. Trying just a bit too hard, Mike finally manages to even alienate his brother who has stuck up for him for so many years. Put on a bogus mission, the rest of the story tries to tell how they can rebuild and, of course, win the election.

Regardless of your opinions of Chris Farley, you have to admit that he was a great entertainer. Yes, his size pretty much pigeon-holed him into a specific genre of slapstick comedy, but he knew how to make it work. From his early days on Saturday Night Live, he was one of many that made the successful leap from sketch comedy to the big screen (nowadays, only a few years later, it seems a movie deal is a part of every SNL cast member’s contract). There will likely be more on screen duos like Farley and Spade, unfortunately for us, Farley’s life was cut drastically short. He made us laugh and in what I like to think his last good movie (this one), he was just heading to the top of his game. For those of you who liked “Tommy Boy” this is more of the same. Paramount has provided another featureless disc, so only true fans will want to pick this one up.

Video: How does it look?

With the debut of “Tommy Boy” on Blu-ray just a few months ago, it was inevidable that we’d see “Black Sheep” come out soon. Well that wait is now over and we’re treated to a 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer that looks surprisingly good. I remember the previous standard DVD looking a bit oversaturated and the transfer being a bit fuzzy. Thankfully this has been rectified with the new transfer here. The palette is still a bit oversaturated, but fleshtones seem to be a bit more consistent. Detail is bumped up a notch or two and the entire transfer seems to be a bit more clear and stable. Fans of “Black Sheep” will love the improvement in picture quality, for sure.

Audio: How does it sound?

“Black Sheep” is one of those films that doesn’t have a .1 or LFE channel. The standard DVD featured a Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack and we now have a Dolby TrueHD 5.0 track on this Blu-ray. Still, as one might imagine, the explosions, clunks and punches thrown during the film do sound pretty good in this soundtrack. Dialogue is clean and relatively free of any distortion. It’s not the best out there, but it certainly isn’t the worst either. In any case, it’s a good mix and viewers won’t be disappointed.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The same supplements from the standard DVD are intact in that there are none. Again, it seems that Paramount might be sacrificing quality for quantity and that’s a shame, I’d love to hear a commentary by David Spade on this one.

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