Plot: What’s it about?
Tanya (Lara Flynn Boyle) has been working as a bartender to support herself and her husband. And the place she works isn’t exactly a high class establishment, so of course, she wishes she didn’t have to be employed there. Her husband (Luca Bercovici) used to be a mildly successful minor league baseball player, until an injury forced him to give up the game. Regardless of his seemingly career ending injury, he still holds on the hope that he can someday return to the field. While Tayna works herself ragged, her husband simply tries to recover. While this seems like nothing more than a loving couple trying to overcome adversity, there is a little twist in this tale. You see, what Tanya doesn’t know is that her husband received an insurance settlement for his injury, worth one hundred and thirty-thousand dollars. Her husband placed the money into a bank account, never letting his wife know the cash even existed. But she finds out, and when she does, she wants her half the settlement, no matter how she does it. Two men enter the picture with intentions of aiding Tanya in her quest for the cash, a small time con man (Peter Dobson) and a more sensitive clean cut fellow (Danny Nucci). Whether she attains the money with the help of either man, Tanya knows she will gets what she deserves, but maybe there is more than money in her future.
While the storyline is fairly predictable, the way the plot unfolds is not, which redeems the movie somewhat. I tried to be vague in my synopsis, to keep from giving away what happens in the end, but once you start watching, you’ll be waiting for the inevitable to occur. This movie relies heavily on dialogue and moves at a very deliberate pace, so those with short attention spans or hatred for talkies will not want to pick this disc up. The performances are well above what I expected from such a low profile film, and the writing is good, if a little overly sentimental and traditional. There are surprises tucked in here and there, so you won’t always be ahead of the movie, however. Even though you know what’s gonna happen in the end, it’s the voyage to get there that counts, and this trip is worth taking, even if only just once. I recommend the movie as a rental to fans of dialogue driven romantic comedies, but the film doesn’t lend itself well to repeat viewings, so I am pressed as to recommend a purchase. If you find yourself really enjoying the flick, by all means take it right to the counter, but first time viewers need to stick with a rental.
The cast of The Big Squeeze has some names and faces you might have seen in higher profile flicks, but only a couple will register as familiar. The leading role is played by Lara Flynn Boyle, who gives a nice performance here, although the role doesn’t allow her to show her talents at playing a complex character. Boyle (Happiness, The Temp) does exude charm however, which is the key to the male character’s motivation, which is vital. The three males circling over Boyle’s character are Peter Dobson (Drowning Mona, The Marrying Man), Luca Bercovici (American Flyers, Pacific Heights), and Danny Nucci (Titanic, Crimson Tide). None of the three performances are by any means inspired, but the actors do manage to give some depth and believability to their roles. The supporting cast includes performances by Angelina Estrada (Luminarias), Laura Ceron, Teresa Despina, Gary Paul, and Ray Birke. Marcus De Leon, who served as the director, also directed the film Kiss Me A Killer.
Video: How does it look?
The Big Squeeze is presented in a full frame transfer, which appears to be an open matte, as no visible pan and scan is present. While the image is good, I did notice some serious contrast inconsistencies, which caused some overly dark scenes. During these scenes, the detail level is low and the image appears very muddy. But the scenes are infrequent, so I won’t degrade the overall transfer too much because of it. Colors appear sharp and bright, but some slight bleeding occurs with some of the more reddish hues. The disc is free from compression errors, but overall the visual transfer is disappointing.
Audio: How does it sound?
The disc uses a stereo track for audio, which leads to a limited, but adequate sound experience. The only fault I can find here is a slight volume issue, where the soundtrack is louder than the dialogue, which means some remote fiddling is in order.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The disc includes filmographies, the trailer, a weblink, and production credits.