Rat Race

Rat Race (2001)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr., John Lovitz
Extras: Interview, Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Outtake, Trailer

There was a time when comedies were all the rage in which a massive all-star cast would fumble their way through some hilarious scenarios. Until recently, this genre of comedies had died, but Paramount gloriously resurrected this particular sort of film with last year’s ’Rat Race.’ From John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson, to Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr., John Lovitz and Seth Green among others, ’Rat Race’ offers plenty of star and bucketloads of laughs. It is the story of an eccentric millionaire and casino owner, putting out a special jackpot for a number of gamblers. Stacking $2 million in cash in a New Mexico bus station locker, he who gets there first, wins it. What ensues is a race that will have you laughing all through its 112 minutes.

Paramount Home Video presents ’Rat Race’ in a beautiful anamorphic widescreen presentation. The transfer is very clean and clear and no speckles of blemishes are in sight anywhere. Free of noise or grain, the image is very stable and the vivid color reproduction creates a natural-looking presentation that is very life-like. Blacks are deep and absolutely solid without ever breaking up, while the highlights stand out nicely without being overexposed. No notable signs of edge-enhancement are visible, creating a movie experience that is absolutely gorgeous and flawless.

The disc contains a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track, as well as Dolby Surround audio tracks in English and French. All tracks are very dynamic and make good use of the surround channels. The spatial integration of the 5.1 mix is very wide, with aggressive surrounds at times. Although the majority of the film is front-loaded with dialogue, many of the scenes benefit immensely from the good surround usage of the sound effects and the inflections from the music.

As bonus materials, the DVD also contains a number of deleted scenes and a gag reel with bloopers – some of which are very funny. An interview featurette with Jerry Zucker and writer Andy Breckman is also part of the disc, allowing them to reminisce about the origins of the story and the production in a bit more detail. A ’Making Of’ featurette and the theatrical trailer round out this release.

’Rat Race’ is a very funny and enjoyable little romp. It is nicely paced and put together making sure none of the characters gets lost as the plots intertwine constantly. Paramount did a great job with this Special Edition DVD release, so make sure to check it out soon!