'Bart Got a Room'
(William H. Macy, Cheryl Hines, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (2008) 2009 / Anchor Bay)
Overview: Nerdy high school senior Danny (Steven Kaplan) has spent six hundred bucks on the hotel room, the limo, and the tux for his prom. He’s only missing one thing—the girl. Hampered by well-intentioned but clueless advice from his newly-divorced parents (William H. Macy, Cheryl Hines) and unsympathetic mocking from his best friends (Brandon Hardesty, Alia Shawkat), Danny battles peer pressure, teen angst, and his own raging hormones as he desperately searches for a prom date.
DVD Verdict: What I liked about "Bart Got a Room" is its easygoing charm. This is not one of those frenetic, loud teen comedies in which implausible characters engage in outrageous actions that in no way resemble reality. Here we have the story of high school senior Danny (Steven Kaplan), who's spent a small fortune on the hotel room, limo, and tux for his prom. What he doesn't have is a date.
The always-wonderful William H. Macy, complete with black curly wig, and Cheryl Hines play Steven's divorced parents, both self-absorbed with seeking relationships of their own. "Bart Got a Room" is not a rollicking movie with wisecarcks issuing forth from precocious teens' mouths every few seconds. The comedy is more about Steven's awkwardness in deciding who to take to the prom.
Since he's not the cliched football hero girls would be eager to accompany to the prom, Steven is sympathetic with his ordinary looks, gentle temperament, and overall sweetness. Alia Shawkat is very good as Camille, Steven's longtime friend, and Jennifer Tilly pops up as an overly amorous woman Steven's dad met online. There are wonderful little moments here and there of South Floridians doing what they do -- hanging out on the beach, playing cards, having the Early Bird Special, listening to a sparsely-attended concert of 40's music -- which add nice atmosphere to the movie.
There is a brief scene at the beginning of Steven and his family having dinner. The interaction here is very funny, in a natural way, and I'd like to have seen more. There's comic potential in some supporting characters that is not fully mined. As far as the bonus extras, I wasn't able to access the Pop-Up Production Notebook and the theatrical trailer. I don't know if this is an inherent problem with the release or unique to the disc I watched. The movie itself played perfectly. [TMN] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Pop-Up Production Notebook