Plot: What’s it about?
Joe (Billy Connolly) is on a streak of bad luck, to say the least. His latest visit to the doctor’s office yielded bad news, some of the worst possible news, in fact. The doctor informed him the cause of his recent headaches is a brain tumor, one in a delicate place and of course, the risk of surgery is very high. So Joe decided to take his two months to decide, hoping the rest of his life will improve and give him some hope. But when he returns home and finds his wife having wild sex with their plumber, it doesn’t seem like hope is what’s in store for Joe’s future. He soon finds himself divorced and with her taking the house, plus half of his reserves, Joe is forced to take another look at his life and make some decisions. Soon enough, he’s on the road to seek out adventure and he finds just that with Hush (Sharon Stone), a former stripper who now runs cons of all kinds. Now Joe is getting conned by Hush one second, then helped by her the next, all while a crime boss (Ian Holm) and his henchman (Gil Bellows) are hot on their trail.
I wasn’t sure to expect from this romance/comedy/chase movie, especially when Sharon Stone and Billy Connolly take the leads, but the trailer was decent, so I wanted to give this release a spin. I think this movie is pretty recycled at times, but the odd pair of Connolly and Stone adds new twists to almost all the scenes. I’ve always liked the antics of Connolly and while Stone is a strange choice to costar, it works out well enough in the end. Their performances are humorous and effective, but of course, no awards are needed with this one. This is also a rather dark movie at times, so don’t expect a normal comedic effort here, nor a slapstick adventure/chase flick. I found Beautiful Joe to be very funny indeed, but if you’re not a fan of dark comedy, then you won’t find much to like with this picture. The black nature comes from some of the mishaps that happen to Connolly’s character, such as his poor luck and in a twisted sense, his brain tumor. I think this release is well worth a look and while a purchase might not be in order, a rental is a worthwhile proposition.
Although he best known for his work as a stand up comedian, Billy Connolly has also starred in a number of films, though with mixed results. If given the proper roles he can come through well, but often times, he ends up in the wrong movie and has little to offer the viewers. But in most cases, his presence is effective, even if just on a rather simple basis. In this case, he chose a good role and it shows, as he seems relaxed within the characters and as such, his comedic talent is on full showcase, very impressive indeed. His acting isn’t up to award status, but since the character is based around Connolly’s skills, he never seems out of place with the flick. You can also see Connolly in such films as Indecent Proposal, The Impostors, Mrs. Brown, An Everlasting Piece, The Debt Collector, and The Boondock Saints. The cast also includes Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct, Total Recall), Gil Bellows (The Shawshank Redemption, Snow White: A Tale of Terror), Dann Florek (The Flintstones, Angel Heart), and Ian Holm (The Fifth Element, Alien).
Video: How does it look?
Beautiful Joe is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This presentation shows some grain at times, but aside from that, the image is terrific and never falters much. The grain doesn’t lessen the impact of colors or contrast, so I won’t knock the score much in the end. The colors are bright and never look bad, while flesh tones seem natural also. No problems on the contrast side either, as detail never slips much and black levels are always well balanced. A very solid visual transfer, fans should be pleased here.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included 2.0 surround track is more than stable, given the film’s dialogue reliant status. The surrounds see some use at times, via music or certain sound effects, but on the whole this is a front channel mix. The elements are in fine form and as intended however, so this track is up to task, just not allowed to open up much, due to the material. The vocals come through well also, very clean and sharp, with no errors to talk about. This disc also includes a Spanish language option, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some talent files, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.