Plot: What’s it about?
Larry (Ted Danson) is a mild mannered dance teacher who is married to the beautiful Trish (Sean Young), while Maria (Isabella Rossellini) is a legal secretary who happens to be married to Tom (William Petersen), a car salesman. So what is the connection between these four people, right? Well, Maria’s mother is getting married to Larry’s uncle and of course, that means all four of them will be present at the wedding ceremonies. Soon after the festivities, Tom and Trish bump into each other and sparks fly, prompting them to take a trek in one of Tom’s cars. As such, Larry and Maria have a common interest from the start, since it seems as though both have been ditched for the other’s spouse, at a wedding no less. In an effort to maintain order and gain some payback on their spouses, Larry and Maria devise a plan, one which has them pretending to be in love and by turn, making their spouses jealous. The plan starts off well enough, but then they run into a problem when they discover their feelings for each other aren’t just part of the act…
You have to second guess yourself when you decide to view any flick where Ted Danson is a primary worker, but is Cousins that bad? Although all signs point toward yes, Cousins rises above the obstacles in its path and turns out to be a decent picture, but I wouldn’t go out on a limb and say it is any better than that. So how does a film that stars Ted Danson and is directed by Joel Schumacher manage to watchable, you ask? Perhaps because Cousins is just an American remake of a French picture, some guidelines were established beforehand and this cast & crew just followed suit, to the best of their abilities. I do think Cousin, Cousine (the French film) is better in all respects, but Cousins is a noble effort and believe it or not, turns out much better than most American takes on successful foreign movies. The light humor and romance is played well here, never overly sappy or avoided, so it has a natural, warm texture. I think Cousins is well worth a peek to those interested, but Paramount’s bare bones and overpriced disc makes it a rental, at best.
Ted Danson found fame as part of the popular television series Cheers, but was never able to break through the ranks in feature films. He did find some minor success in family aimed pictures, but whenever he stretched out as the sole lead, he was left out in the cold by critics and audiences alike, like clockwork. Danson has some skills as a performer and has started using them well in smaller roles, which works out quite well. I think Danson just lacks the presence to command a screen’s audience, which is a kiss of death for movie stars. His comic sense often rises in even his worst projects, but it is not usually enough to save the ship. In Cousins, Danson gives perhaps his best and most likable turn, at least in my opinion. Other films with Danson include Three Men & A Baby, Made in America, Pontiac Moon, Getting Even With Dad, and Creepshow. The cast also includes Sean Young (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Blade Runner), Isabella Rossellini (Immortal Beloved, Blue Velvet), and William Petersen (The Contender, The Skulls).
Video: How does it look?
Cousins is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As per usual, Paramount has done some solid work on this catalog title, but no one will be using this as a reference disc, of course. The print shows some minor wear and grain, but looks much better than previous editions, without a doubt. I found the colors to be bright and natural, flesh tones were on the mark, and black levels seemed sharp and well balanced also. Not a whole lot of room for complaints, as this is a more than solid visual presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
A new Dolby Digital 5.1 option was created for this release and if you ask me, it would have been better to channel those funds toward the supplements. I mean, yes the mix sounds good, but the also included 2.0 surround track is almost identical and to me, that just means poor use of resources here. The soundfield is mostly based in the front because of the material, but it all sounds good here, as music and sound effects come through well enough. No complaints with the dialogue either, as vocals remain clean and clear throughout. This disc also contains a 2.0 surround track, French language option, and English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.