Plot: What’s it about?
Bruno (Alex D. Linz) is a very smart young man, but no one seems to understand him, so he ends up getting hassled a lot. The kids at school pick on him all the time, his own family doesn’t have a clue about him, and his teachers dislike him also, he just doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. He has no friends, but he is on the hockey team that his father Dino (Gary Sinise) helps manage, although he is so bad, Dino orders him to quit the team. His grossly obese mother Angela (Stacey Halprin) tries to nurture him, but Bruno is distant and shows no signs of changing, at least not in the fashion anyone wishes. Soon however, he meets Shawniqua (Kiami Davael) and has a new friend, who is also different from her classmates, as she is black and has a lot of attitude. The two become close and even switch clothes, with Bruno wearing her skirt at times. This trend disturbs Dino and some other folks, but Bruno seems pleased to wear them, even in high profile situations. As he competes in a very important spelling bee, Bruno wears various dresses and of course, this raises many an eyebrow. But will Bruno ever be able to find himself and live as he wishes, or will he be forced to live a life that someone else wants for him?
This seems like the kind of movie where a lot of favors are called on, as it features a number of well known stars, in less than impressive performances. The story focuses on Alex D. Linz (Home Alone 3), but we have sleepwalking efforts from Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump), Kathy Bates (Misery), Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy), and Jennifer Tilly (Bride of Chucky), all of whom seem like they can’t believe they agreed to be in this movie. As such, we never have realistic characters and that cripples The Dress Code from the start. The film has some humorous moments, but often seems forced and even dull at times, not consistent in the least. It looks like a family film, but the mean spirit and frequent profanity keep it from that audience, I think. Even with some name talent on deck, this film was never given a wide release and to be honest, I doubt most people even know it was made. I suppose MGM didn’t have much faith in the film either, as they put minimal effort into this disc and trust me, I do mean minimal. As such, I think a rental should suffice for those interested, as there is no real incentive to purchase this disc, I mean none in the least.
Video: How does it look?
The Dress Code is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. The image here looks rushed and unrefined, thanks to the lack of anamorphic enhancement, which is a mystery to me, to be sure. I suppose MGM decided to push this one out with as little effort as possible, at least that’s how it looks to be. This transfer is very soft and disappoints on all fronts, a very poor effort for a film released in 1999 (then to DVD in 2001). The image shows little detail and looks fuzzy at times, while colors and contrast are stable, but never reach impressive levels. In the end, this is about like watching a brand new VHS tape and while that is good enough to watch, I think it should have been a much richer presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
Not much to discuss here, as the included Dolby stereo option is good, but never impresses. The basics seem to be covered and that’s good news, but I wish the music and sound effects had more depth, given the young age of the picture. But again, I guess MGM wanted a quick, rushed product, so we have no 5.1 track present here. But on the good side, this movie is not too audio reliant in terms of power, so we don’t miss much and what we do miss is forgivable, under the circumstances. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.