Cherish (2002)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Robin Tunney, Jason Priestley
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Trailer

With front of case blurbage along the lines of ’House arrest has never looked so sexy!’ and ’Awesome ’80s Soundtrack!’ I was somewhat apprehensive when — after much prodding — I finally sat down to review ’Cherish.’ Well, I’m here to report that not only did I survive said ordeal, I actually liked this film quite a bit although it does lose points for lodging in my head for days on end the title song by the Association.

Robin Tunney stars as Zoe Adler, a computer animator with no real social life who’s hounded by her picture perfect boss Brynn (Liz Phair) and her fear of being alone. Zoe’s only solace comes from listening to classic ’80s tunes on her favorite radio station.
After a few drinks and a chance encounter with a co-worker (Jason Priestly) at a local bar, Zoe is carjacked by a stalker and during the ensuing struggle she runs down a police officer with her car. Of course the mysterious stalker flees the scene leaving a semi-conscious Zoe to take the rap for killing a cop.
While awaiting trail, Zoe is placed under house arrest in a seedy part of town. Her somewhat unorthodox imprisonment is overseen by an electronic tether technician named Bill (Tim Blake Nelson). As the two come to know and trust each other they hatch a plan to trap the real killer and set Zoe free.

Directed by Finn Taylor, ’Cherish’ is just as odd as it sounds. What could have been a real headscratching disaster of a film is instead buoyed by some very good acting, a solid story that isn’t afraid to get dark at times, and, of course, the classic ’80s makeout soundtrack.

Presented in both 1.33:1 <$PS,full frame> and 1.85:1 <$16x9,anamorphic> <$PS,widescreen> versions, ’Cherish’ is another solid effort from the folks at New Line. The overall image is a bit soft but is free from any artificial edge enhancement. Colors are accurate and stable while black levels suffer in only a handful of the darkest scenes. The picture is also free of physical blemishes. This is a good video transfer for such a low-budget film and the few minor nitpicks are certainly due to the lesser quality of the original elements rather than the DVD encoding itself.

Audio comes in an English <$DD,Dolby Digital> 2.0 Surround mix. This is very much a front-loaded soundtrack but surrounds do kick in with real gusto for the numerous pop songs. Dialogue is always clear and the track is free from any noticeable distortion. All in all, this is a decent enough 2.0 mix.

The DVD also features a handful of quality bonus features. First up is a <$commentary,commentary track> with Robin Tunney, Finn Taylor, and director of photography Barry Stone. The three participants are clearly having fun and they actually have a lot to say about their impressions of the finished film.

Next up is a 19-minute featurette that contains behind-the-scenes footage as well as interview snippets with the primary cast and crew.

Two deleted scenes are also included. The first one runs for a mere 10 seconds and isn’t all that interesting. The second is a 2-minute alternate ending that is well worth a look.

The DVD also features the film’s original theatrical trailer.

’Cherish’ is a well-crafted movie and a fine enough DVD but I’m afraid that the marketing behind it just isn’t up to snuff. Nothing on the DVD case indicates in any way that this might actually be a film with some real substance. For those seeking a romantic comedy with a vintage soundtrack ’Cherish’ certainly fits the bill but the film also offers a serious and at times grim assessment of the plight of the individual in modern society. In essence, the entire movie revolves around the fear of finding oneself alone in a crowd of thousands. Hey, I’m not about to suggest that you can learn a life lesson from a movie set to the dulcet tones of Hall & Oates. I’m just pointing out that ’Cherish’ isn’t the fluff piece that I was expecting and for that I’m extremely thankful.