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Blind Date (1987) Blu-ray Review

Blind Date (1987) movie poster Blind Date

Theatrical Release: March 27, 1987 / Running Time: 95 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Blake Edwards / Writer: Dale Launer

Cast: Kim Basinger (Nadia Gates), Bruce Willis (Walter Davis), John Larroquette (David Bedford), William Daniels (Judge Harold Bedford), George Coe (Harry Gruen), Mark Blum (Denny Gordon), Phil Hartman (Ted Davis), Stephanie Faracy (Susie Davis), Alice Hirson (Muriel Bedford), Graham Stark (Jordan the Butler), Joyce Van Patten (Nadia's Mother), Jeannie Elias (Walter's Secretary), Sacerdo Tanney (Minister), Georgann Johnson (Mrs. Gruen), Sab Shimono (Mr. Yakamoto), Momo Yashima (Mrs. Yakimoto), Armin Shimerman (French Waiter), Brian George (Maitre D'), Ernest Harada (Japanese Gardener)

Buy Blind Date (1987) from Amazon.com: Blu-ray DVD Instant Video

Diagonal billing is used when two stars are considered to have equal significance. One name sits lower and to the left, the other higher and to the right.
Neither is technically placed in front of the other, ignoring the fact that we read left to right.

Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger are credited in this fashion on the poster and in print ads for the 1987 romantic comedy Blind Date. Willis, midway into his run on ABC's "Moonlighting", was new to film, though soon to find stardom in Die Hard and additional commercial success as a voice in Look Who's Talking. Basinger had more credits to her name, including the Bond film Never Say Never Again, The Natural, and the steamy 9 Weeks, though she was still a couple of years away from being cast as the love interest in Tim Burton's Batman. Neither thirtysomething lead was yet a marquee name, but a project like this was designed to get them there.

Blind Date is directed by Blake Edwards, a comedy veteran whose work included Peter Sellers' Pink Panther series, a number of collaborations with his longtime wife Julie Andrews, and assorted films that were either well-liked (Breakfast at Tiffany's, Days of Wine and Roses) or well-attended (10). Blind Date would wind up being neither of those, although its $39 million gross in 1987 translates to a respectable $79 M adjusted for 2014 inflation.

Nadia Gates (Kim Basinger) and Walter Davis (Bruce Willis) respond to their night of misadventures with laughter and disbelief in the 1987 romantic comedy "Blind Date."

Willis plays Walter Davis, an oft-disheveled Angelino who works hard in finance. Needing a date for a business dinner (a concept the film doesn't care much about making sense), Walter turns to his brother, car salesman Ted (Phil Hartman). Ted has just the girl for Walter, his wife's cousin. Walter fears the worst, having experienced a number of lousy set-ups in the past, but Nadia Gates (Basinger) proves to be a genuine knockout.

The only catch is that alcohol makes Nadia go a little wild. She has a bit of champagne and hilarity ensues. Or it's supposed to, anyway. She keeps crossing paths with her psychotic ex David (John Larroquette), a lawyer who becomes violently jealous at the sight of her with another man. Nadia makes a mess out of Walter's boss' fancy restaurant dinner with important new client Mr. Yakamoto, an old world Japanese man who treats his geisha-like wife like a servant. Theirs is one of two marriages Nadia endangers, while ripping off suit jacket pockets and getting Walter fired.

The night of misadventures continues with more from David, extreme automotive mishaps, a discotheque fight, and multiple run-ins with the police. The script by Dale Launer, his second and the only misstep in a run that also included Ruthless People, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and My Cousin Vinny, is a big believer in broad gags: a car getting stripped to its skeleton, another crashing into an exotic pet store, a bed breaking, a party's spreads getting messied, and other actions that require obvious stunt doubles. It's all forced, flat, and painfully unfunny. Never mind Edwards' legacy in comedy or the fact that the cast includes geniuses like Hartman and William Daniels ("Boy Meets World"'s Mr. Feeny). There's no more than a sporadic chuckle to be found in this badly aged farce.

Judge Harold Bedford (William Daniels) reluctantly agrees to a deal with Walter's lawyer, his son (John Larroquette).

Willis and Basinger have no spark together. It's surprising to find each actor off-key in their own way
(especially Basinger, who inconsistently attempts a Louisiana accent) so close to landing two of the '80s' most iconic film roles.

Obviously, characters who have such disastrous effects on one another's social circle must be perfect for one another in a romantic comedy. So, Blind Date hatches a way to separate the pair and then have them try to reunite. Walter is looking at serious jail time for his night of recklessness, but Nadia comes to his rescue by agreeing to marry David if he can get Walter off. After he does just that, Nadia intends to stay true to her word, prompting an interminable third act that has Walter wandering around David's family's mansion on the eve of their wedding day.

Edwards' career was already starting to trail off by the late 1980s. Neither this, nor his follow-up with Willis (the 1920s Hollywood crime caper Sunset), slowed the process. Launer seems to have gotten out of the industry, only writing, directing, and producing the basically unreleased 2005 film Tom's Nu Heaven in the past twenty years. His IMDb biography includes the following relevant personal quote: "Blind Date was rewritten by so many people, if you hated it, it's not my fault and if you liked it, I can't take credit for it." So, it's not his fault, I guess.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has shown little interest in releasing its substantial catalog to Blu-ray Disc. Instead, they've allowed smaller companies to distribute for them, while they themselves throw out only the occasional bone (e.g. Ishtar: Director's Cut, Matilda). Blind Date hits Blu-ray on Tuesday from Image Entertainment, who have treated numerous 1980s Tri-Star Pictures releases like it to staggered, low-profile but not terribly low-priced BDs.

Blind Date Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
2.0 DTS-HD MA (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired
Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: January 14, 2014
Suggested Retail Price: $17.97
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap
Also available on DVD ($9.98 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video; Previously released as Sony DVD (February 5, 2002) and Image DVD (December 7, 2010)

VIDEO and AUDIO

Blind Date is presented in its original 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio. The Blu-ray's element remains clean, but it's just not as sharp as you'd like. Parts of the picture go in and out of focus and while you've got to cut a nearly 30-year-old film some slack, I've been more impressed with other Image catalog Blu-rays.

Sound is offered only in 2.0 DTS-HD master audio. Most of the time, the sound can't hide its age or simplicity. Still, the mix charges to life in the discotheque scene's musical performances by Billy Vera and the Beaters. English SDH subtitles function like closed captions, even translating song lyrics as some other discs annoyingly do not.

A year before using a Zippo lighter to illuminate an air duct in "Die Hard", Bruce Willis was relying on plain old matches in "Blind Date", as seen in this shot from the Blu-ray's menu.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Like other Sony films licensed out to Image, Blind Date is joined by no bonus features whatsoever.
Sony's own 2002 DVD release of the film didn't offer anything really, apart from more foreign language options and a secondary full screen presentation. If Image had any say in the matter (and I suspect that they do not), I wish their discs would at least include the films' original theatrical trailers. That used to be a standard DVD feature and it really ought to be a Blu-ray one these days, as this seems like a last chance on physical media for many mid-level titles.

The menu loops lightened, screen-filling clips to the most gloriously '80s excerpt of Henry Mancini's score. Though it doesn't automatically resume playback, the BD does let you set bookmarks too for quick access to your favorite scenes.

The side-snapped keepcase goes without a slipcover, any inserts, or reverse side artwork.

The morning after their messy blind date, Walter (Bruce Willis) looks to repay Nadia (Kim Basinger) for bailing him out of jail.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Perhaps it's partly because there are so few of them being released and made available for review, but I really enjoy reviewing catalog releases, as they enable me to discover forgotten older movies. It's a bummer, then, that I can't recommend Blind Date. The only enjoyment derived from this lackluster comedy came in seeing this previously unfamiliar work from actors I like and placing it into the contexts of their careers, as well as cinema and pop culture at large.

It makes sense that a film hitting Blu-ray with no frills through a licensing deal wouldn't be terrific. Judging from the okay 5.8 rating on IMDb, not everyone will agree with my dismissal of the movie. But without liking it, there's no reason to recommend this movie-only Blu-ray that will probably cost you close to $20 online with shipping and/or tax and not be easy to find in stores.

Support catalog Blu-rays when you buy Blind Date now from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray / DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
1987 on Blu-ray: Ishtar Adventures in Babysitting Spaceballs Good Morning, Vietnam Planes, Trains & Automobiles
New: Hell Baby Thief | Sony/Image Entertainment Blu-rays: Peggy Sue Got Married Quicksilver
Bruce Willis: Looper A Good Day to Die Hard Surrogates Lay the Favorite G.I. Joe: Retaliation Armageddon
Kim Basinger: Batman & L.A. Confidential | John Larroquette: Gun
William Daniels: Boy Meets World: Season 1 A Thousand Clowns The Graduate
Phil Hartman: Jingle All the Way NewsRadio: The Complete Series The Brave Little Toaster
Date Night The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Scrooged Airplane! Top Gun

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Reviewed January 10, 2014.



Text copyright 2014 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 1987 Tri-Star Pictures and 2014 Image Entertainment and RLJ Entertainment.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.