Chooch (2005)
Goodtimes Home Video
Cast: Carmine Famiglietti, Joseph Summa, Stefan Lysenko, Kiwi
Extras: Featurette, Trailer, 30-Second Spot

Life in Bocci Park Queens, where family, great Italian food and baseball are king, at least in the eyes of Dino Condito (Carmine Famiglietti) who dreams of one day playing for his favorite Major League baseball team, the New York Mets. Dino and his cousin Jubilene (Joseph Summa) play ball for a local community baseball team, named after the sponsor, the Rubino Bros. After fouling a key play in the big game to local rivals and possibly contributing to the loss of the sponsor for their team altogether, Dino is given the nickname "Chooch" or jackass. Feeling lower than low, Jubilene decides to cheer up Dino and take him out of Queens for the first time, on a relaxing trip to Cancun Mexico. What seems like a good idea at the time quickly turns sour, as the two become involved in a mix-up south of the border and wind up in a Mexican jail. Charging to the pair's rescue is the neighborhood "crew" with Dino's dog "Kiwi" in tow. This simple, but hilarious tale is slightly amateur, but still manages to put a smile on your face as you witness some of the ridiculously comical situations orchestrated by Dino and Jubilene.

Goodtimes Entertainment presents "Chooch" in a 1.85:1 letterboxed widescreen presentation that rises above the standard of low budget productions. Honestly, this transfer puts some other higher-profile films on DVD to shame. There were very minor dirt specs present and compression artifacts were almost non-existent. Blacks were rich in depth and colors were nicely saturated to exhibit natural flesh tones and good overall detail. The final presentation was quite pleasant, given its non-anamorphic format.

The soundtrack for "Chooch" comes in the form of a Dolby 2.0 stereo mix. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised here. Lending their songs to the film's soundtrack are musical icons; Louis Armstrong, John Lee Hooker and Bo Diddley, to name a few. Dialogue was natural in reproduction with a good balance of bass providing an overall satisfying experience.

Special features come in the form of a trailer, 30-second spot, a short video featuring Dino's dog Kiwi and a segment titled "Meet the Mayor."

While "Chooch" is not a film that will impress the highly critical film snob, I found it to be a good first feature outing from comedian Carmine Famiglietti (veteran of the New York comedy circuit including Caroline's on Broadway). This simple, but funny story will entertain, so long as you leave all expectations at the door.