People I Know

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Eli Wurman (Al Pacino) has seen all the stories, known all the stars, and held all the connections. He has been one of the elite public relations agents in the world, one that all the big name talent flock to work with. After all, he knows all the details and all the ways to make fame explode, no matter what it takes. Wurman has also smoothed over countless mistakes for his clients, some worse than others. His career has lasted decades, so he has an old school outlook, though he also stays on the edge of evolution in the business. So he has handled scandals of all kinds and never seems to be concerned, until now. His most important client is Cary Launer (Ryan O’Neal) is a powerful actor who can turn in incredible performances, both on screen and in real life. Launer has become entangled with Jilli Hopper (Tea Leoni), a beautiful young starlet who won’t leave Launder without a fight. So Eli is tasked to make sure Jilli makes an exit and a quiet one at that, which won’t be a simple task. But Eli has done this kind of thing before and of course, he is confident that he can ease through the trouble. Wurman assumes this is just another go through the motions situation, until he is shocked by the events at an after hours party. Now that he knows what he knows, can he continue his former ways?

This movie has a number of big name stars, but People I Know sat unreleased for two years, before a direct to video arrival. When a movie is shelved for a couple of years, you can start to draw some conclusions. When a movie that stars Al Pacino, Ryan O’Neal, Kim Basinger and Tea Leoni is shelved for a couple of years, those conclusions become all the more obvious. Of course, I mean that we can assume the movie just plain stinks, as tons of bad movies are released to theaters, so when one isn’t even released in theaters, red flags start to rise by the dozen. Now after two years in limbo, People I Know is available to the public, but could it be that bad? I’ve seen the movie twice now and without hesitation, the answer is yes. This material couldn’t have made for a worthwhile Lifetime Original Picture, let alone a major motion picture. The director has no clue how to manage his stable of stars, which is sad in this case, given the talent involved. Dan Algrant directs the thin plot in even lesser directions, with no sense of focus or intention. Pacino is passable, but even his biggest fans will be disappointed here. Maybe he needed a tax break or owed someone a huge favor, but he is wasted in this movie. Miramax offers a more than solid disc however, so if you’re that curious, a rental is the prime option.

Video: How does it look?

People I Know is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This movie sat on the shelf for a couple years, but it still looks like new merchandise. The visuals aren’t that crisp or detailed, but have a decent sharpness, just as not as refined as I expected. The print looks good however, with minimal debris and marks, as well as no grain present. I found colors to be bright and vivid, with no errors to speak of, while contrast is stark and consistent. This is by no means a bad visual presentation, but from such a recent movie, I expected a little more.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included Dolby Digital 5.1 option is more than solid, but of course, this is a dialogue driven picture and that means limited surround use. The musical soundtrack sparks the speakers at times, but aside from that, this one is anchored in the front channels. The dialogue is clean and crisp in this mix, with no volume or clarity issues to contend with. As far as dialogue reliant flick soundtracks go, this is a good one and while it isn’t that active, all the elements seem in order. This is a family comedy after all, so we shouldn’t expect that much. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Director Dan Algrant’s audio commentary track doesnt’ offer a whole lot of insight on the movie and there are certainly better out there, but the deleted scenes were worth a look.

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