Undertaking Betty

Undertaking Betty (2002)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Brenda Blethyn, Alfred Molina, Christopher Walken, Naomi Watts
Extras: Featurette

Also known as "Plots With a View, " "Undertaking Betty" is a funny, slightly morbid comedy set in a Welsh small town. Since childhood the local undertaker Boris Plots (Alfred Molina) has been in love with Betty Rhys-Jones (Brenda Blethyn) but has never given in to tell her about his adoration. So, from a distance he observes her all his life, realizing one day that she is very unhappy in her marriage to a bossy council man who is constantly cheating on her, without her knowing.
One day however, he approaches her and admits his love – which she returns. Together they make plans how they could get her out of her marriage without destroying her husband's career and reputation. Boris comes up with the plan to stage her death. Being the local undertaker and all, he could then hurry the body away, seem to have it buried properly, and then two of them could escape to some tropical island for the rest of their days. Great plan, if it weren't for Boris' competitors from "Featherbed Funerals" (Christopher Walken and Lee Evans) who are dead-set on getting their hands on Betty's body as well, and arrange her funeral for prestige.

I had not heard about "Undertaking Betty" before but was curious by the movie's cast and the premise outlined on the back of the packaging. I am sure glad I did check it out because "Undertaking Betty" is wonderfully funny and entertaining. The cast and the story deliver delicious little laughs and smirks, great situations that allow for great gags and characters that are so over the top without ever being cartoony that it is absolutely hilarious. In a word, "Undertaking Betty" is great film that deserves to be seen.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has prepared a widescreen presentation of the film for this release that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets, of course. The image is clean and clear and without defects or speckles. No grain mars the picture and as a result we see an image that is sharp and well defined, holding good level of detail. Colors are nicely reproduced without bleeding or noise and skin tones always look absolutely natural. Black levels are deep, making sure the image has good visual depth and shadows that never break up or lose definition. No edge-enhancement or compression artifacts distract from enjoying this film.

The audio comes as a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital track that is nicely restrained. While occasional surround effects are used to break up the spatial field, the film is most dialogue driven and thus firmly rooted in the front. The score has been nicely integrated throughout all channels to give it a wide spatial feel, though. Dialogue is always understandable and never drowned out.

As an extra, this DVD release also contains a featurette, entitled "The Fun In Funeral: The Making Of Undertaking Betty." It is a nice featurette taking a look at the film's production with cast and crew interviews and some behind the scenes footage.

"Undertaking Betty" is a great film and I can not urge you enough to give it a try. It is clever and charming. Buena Vista Home Entertainment is dishing out a quality DVD here, so make sure to get your copy as soon as possible. You won't regret it.