Plot: What’s it about?
In the realm of romance, you never know when love will sneak in and also, when lust could raise up and cause troubles. Mary Ann (Amy Irving) is a widowed English teacher, who seeks some fun and solace in Rio, where there seems to be plenty of chances to just that. She has a friend, Nadine (Drica Moraes) who is involved in an on-line relationship, but she has decided to take the next step, which means she plans to visit her virtual boyfriend, Gary in New York. When she books her travel plans, she does so through Tania (Debora Bloch), who has just been separated from her husband, Pedro (Antonio Fagundes), who is a lawyer. As he works on his own father’s divorce case, Pedro is drawn toward his sultry new intern, Sharon (Giovanna Antonelli). Once while Sharon is working in the office, Acacio (Alexandre Borges) comes by for some legal advice and finds her to be the only person there. Acacio also takes English lessons with Mary Ann, as well as playing soccer, which will soon lead him to England. With all these lives crossing over one another, who will love strike and when it does, will it strike the same people?
I usually like romantic comedies, but this seems to be aimed at folks about twenty years my senior. I admit that Amy Irving looks very good for her age, but I just don’t want to see two forty-somethings frolicking about, bottom line. Now perhaps as a secondary storyline or as a quirky offshoot, but not as the main focus, which is the case here. The age issue wouldn’t be such a major factor, but it is the source of much of the film’s progress, which left me out of the loop, as I just can’t relate to these folks. But I suppose this doesn’t matter to people in the correct age bracket, who will no doubt be able to relate to these characters more than I can. And I do think this film works well to that audience, as I have read a lot of positive reviews from folks in the right age range. So in the end, Bossa Nova left me cold, but I know the core audience will find a lot to like with this romantic comedy. The disc is loaded with value elements, so whether you choose to rent or purchase, this release comes recommended, but make sure you’re not too young, ok?
As far as romantic leads go, Amy Irving seems to be a good one, even if she’s not as young as she used to be. Irving looks very good here and has a strong charm level, both of which are needed elements for this type of role. I had my doubts about her due to her age, but Irving proves she still has what it takes and then some. As usual, her acting skills are above average and here, she gets to show off her sexiness and charm, which work to perfection here. I wish Irving could have given this turn in a movie I liked more, but I still know a good performance when I see one, even if inside a film I didn’t care for. If you want to see more of Irving, then check out Honeysuckle Rose, Deconstructing Harry, The Confession, The Rage: Carrie 2, and Traffic. The cast here also includes Debora Bloch, Alexandre Borges (A Glass Of Rage, Foreign Land), Giovanna Antonelli, Drica Moraes (Treason, The Mandarin), and Antonio Fagundes (Sweet Powder, The Body). The director of Bossa Nova is Bruno Barreto, who also helmed films such as Beyond Passion, Four Days In September, One Tough Cop, and A View From The Top.
Video: How does it look?
Bossa Nova is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As usual, Columbia/Tristar has issued a fine visual presentation here, which should please fans to no end. Aside from some minor source print flaws, this is a terrific transfer and I am surprised the colors look so good. The film uses some bold strokes of color and thanks to this transfer, the hues look rich and full, with no signs of problems in the least. I saw no errors with the contrast either, as black levels look solid and no visible detail is evident. This is a very impressive overall presentation, yet another notch in Columbia/Tristar’s belt.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included Dolby Digital track supplies a full experience, but only the music makes good use of the surround channels. But since this is a dialogue driven romantic comedy, it doesn’t need any further surround use, so no real complaints. The sound effects come off in fine form here also, while the dialogue is clean and distinct at all times. The film’s original soundtrack is a mix of English and Portuguese, but with English subtitles packed on, no issues arise. The disc also has a 2.0 surround track, as well as subtitles in Spanish and Portuguese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc isn’t titled as a special edition, but you might think so, with all these bonus materials tacked on. I didn’t expect much from the audio commentary with director Bruno Barreto and actor Amy Irving, but the two had a wealth of information and anecdotes on the production. If you liked the movie, then by all means, give this track a spin. You’ll also find an eighteen minute behind the scenes featurette, a deleted sequence with optional commentary, some talent files, the film’s theatrical trailer, and the film’s isolated musical score.