January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

David (Luke Wilson) is a small time drug peddler who is friends with Tony (Andy Dick) and Robert (Jeremy Sisto), who both happen to use drugs. David is an artist and while he has no real future in that realm, he continues to make drawings and smoke pot, which is what he does best. One day while the three are sitting around David’s house, a very upset young woman named Serena (Alicia Witt) storms in, carrying an unconscious girl named Jennifer (Amy Locane). It seems Serena thinks David sold Jennifer some bad drugs, but once Tony slaps it out of her, Jennifer is awake and doing great. Serena then calms down and looks at some of David’s art, which she loves and wants to help him make the big time. The two talk a lot and seem to connect, but that all ends when Serena brings in rich girl Mary (Brittany Murphy) to look at David’s art. Mary starts to flirt with David and in a jealous panic, Serena leaves with another man. This is when things begin to get out of hand, when David’s house burns down, Serena ends up used in her new perfect life, and all sorts of other issues surface.

This movie had a cool premise and a ton of likable performers, so I wanted to give it a quick check when it arrived on DVD. I was expecting an all out comedy with some romantic moments, but Bongwater threw me for a loop at times. It has a lot of humor involved, but also some real dramatic times, including a rape scene, which seemed a little out of place, I think. So on the whole, when the film went into more drama based times, it faltered and when it stuck with the humor, it was a very enjoyable picture. I do think it could use some work here and there, but Bongwater has more good elements than bad, in the end. It features some solid writing, effective direction, and fantastic performances. You’ll see Luke Wilson, Jack Black, Andy Dick, Brittany Murphy, Amy Locane, Jeremy Sisto, Alicia Witt, and many others, all in humorous form. As I mentioned, Bongwater is inconsistent and rough around the edges, but it is still well worth a rental. I do wish more effort were put into this disc, but First Look (via Image) isn’t known for releasing many special editions.

As always, Alicia Witt proves to be the most memorable cast member, really lighting up the screen at times, even if in a negative glance. Yes, Witt has to play the bitch at times in Bongwater, but even then, she is excellent and very desirable. This is due in part to her beauty of course, but also do her overall persona, as she carries her characters very well. Witt is able to run the gamut of emotions here also, which allows her more room as a performer and she takes it, never looking back and always pushing forward. I like Witt a lot and I hope to see her in more substantial roles soon, as she more than deserves them. You can also see Witt in such films as Playing Mona Lisa, Urban Legend, Mr. Holland’s Opus, and Cecil B. DeMented. The cast also includes Luke Wilson (Legally Blonde, Rushmore), Amy Locane (Cry-Baby, Airheads), Andy Dick (Reality Bites, In The Army Now), and Jack Black (Saving Silverman, The Cable Guy).

Video: How does it look?

Bongwater is presented in a full frame transfer and I am unsure if this is an acceptable form, although I didn’t see any visible pan & scan. The image looks terrific though, very sharp and with minimal problems to discuss. The print looks clean and I saw no serious compression errors, although some edge enhancement is seen at times. The colors seem bright and vivid, with no errors to report, while flesh tones look natural also. I saw no flaws with the contrast either, which means blacks are stark and no detail loss is evident.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included Dolby Digital 5.1 track is good, but this material simply doesn’t allow for much presence, since it is pretty much dialogue driven. But the musical soundtrack takes advantage of the rear channels and sounds great, though that is about all the surround presence to be heard here. That is how it should be however, so I’d rather have a natural mix than one with forced surround presence, to be sure. The basics come through in fine form and dialogue is clean at all times, so I have no real complaints. This disc also includes a stereo option, just in case that better suits your home theater needs.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s trailer, as well as an international trailer reel.

Disc Scores