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Preview Image for I.Q. (UK)
I.Q. (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000066552
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 11/11/2004 20:29
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    Review of I.Q.

    8 / 10


    I.Q. is a romantic comedy, and you probably won`t be surprised to learn that it stars Meg Ryan. There was a period in the eighties and nineties when she was the golden girl of Hollywood, and the queen of rom-coms. Basically she was a safe pair of hands to which this genre could be entrusted. You knew exactly what you would get from a Meg Ryan rom-com, and could be guaranteed ninety odd minutes of light fluffy sweetness, low on cinema calories. Time stands still for no one though, and today`s romantic comedies are a different animal, with no single actress yet able to claim the crown, and the dreaded fart gag beginning to creep in to even the most mainstream of films. Ben Stiller would never have stomach problems on Meg Ryan`s toilet, while being attacked by a blind ferret.

    I.Q. is perhaps the most sweet-natured, inoffensive romantic comedy that you could care to watch. It`s also the kind of romantic comedy that is aimed, probably by accident, at my demographic. I mean, a film where Albert Einstein plays matchmaker and a reviewer with a Physics degree, it`s practically ordained in the stars.

    Catherine Boyd is an absent-minded Maths researcher, who is engaged to James Moreland, a rather uptight British experimental psychologist. When their car breaks down, they pull into a garage where Catherine meets mechanic Ed Walters, and the laws of attraction take over. When Catherine forgets her watch, Ed is determined to return it just to meet Catherine again. When he knocks on her door he`s surprised to meet Albert Einstein, who is Catherine`s uncle. Einstein is impressed by the thoughtful and imaginative car mechanic, and decides to help him pursue his niece. It`s hard for a grease monkey to make much of an impression on the academically minded Catherine, so the professor and his friends hatch a plan to turn the mild mannered mechanic into an academic genius that will shake the very foundations of Physics. Naturally things get out of hand.


    The film plays automatically when the disc is inserted and the language selected. The image is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer, and the picture is clear and sharp throughout. The only problems are a tinge of grain, and slight annoyances of print damage. This is a period film, and there`s plenty of the fifties on show here, from the fashions to the cars and furnishings. It all looks very nice, but this is another disc with a poorly placed layer transfer.


    Europe once again benefits from a multilingual disc. You can listen to a DD 5.1 English soundtrack or DD 2.0 Surround tracks in French, German, Italian and Spanish. There are 25 subtitle tracks on this disc. Klingon isn`t one of them. The dialogue is clear throughout, and the surround is used mostly for ambience and the music. There are one or two moments of flair, but as this is was originally a Stereo track, there`s no reason to expect your speakers to get a workout. Jerry Goldsmith`s music is perfectly evocative of the fifties, with plenty of Do-wop.


    Boy, when they say bare bones, they don`t mince words. Not even a trailer.


    I.Q. is an enjoyable 90 minutes, sweet natured and heart-warming, the romantic comedy is gentle and no hearts were broken during the course of the film, bruised slightly but never broken. What makes this film special is the Albert Einstein as matchmaker idea, and that hinges on the performance from Walter Matthau as the iconic scientist. He is astounding as the physicist, and captures an air of genius and eccentricity that lights up the film. In a role that could so easily have been caricature or impersonation, he makes a warm and feeling character that inhabits the story rather than distract from it. It`s easy to believe that he and his even more eccentric colleagues would scheme to interfere in his niece`s life.

    Tim Robbins is good as Ed Walters, the mechanic who has devoured pulp science magazines and is instantly attracted to Catherine, then gets to meet his hero Albert Einstein. Meg Ryan has played many unconventional characters in romantic comedies, so her turn as the absent minded Catherine Boyd is hardly a stretch, although she does convey an air of academia well, throwing around terms like the DeBroglie wave function, and the Planck constant with ease. Incidentally the science in this film never descends into Star Trek type technobabble and remains credible through the film, a welcome change from a Hollywood that usually rewrites the laws of physics to suit its plotlines. There`s excellent support too from Stephen Fry as the stuffy psychologist James Moreland, who is a less than ideal match for Catherine. I`m always worried when a British character appears in a Hollywood movie; it`s too easy to cast him as a villain. But Moreland is never written with any deliberate malice in I.Q. and Fry plays him with his usual erudite charm. Also of note is Tony Shalhoub as Bob Rosetti, Ed`s boss, who is the voice of sanity when Ed falls for a girl so out of his league, but doesn`t mind the extra publicity the relationship brings his garage.

    This film is blessed with a witty script and interesting characters. It was made not long after Pons and Fleischmann made their erroneous claim regarding cold fusion, and it`s echoed in this film in a not too subtle dig at celebrity scientists announcing their results via press conferences instead of peer review. More current is a scene where Ed`s genius is tested in public forum, and he has to complete a multiple-choice test. Albert Einstein`s improvised cheat must have Tecwen Whittock and the Ingrams wincing in embarrassment. I.Q is a blend of history and pure fantasy that works on every level.

    The disc is exceptionally Spartan, and if you are thinking of buying then look for a decent discount. The film is one that I enjoy time and again. It`s sweet, charming and entertaining, and it accomplishes this without a hint of malice, crudity or offence. I.Q. is light and frothy certainly, but I always find it an uplifting experience that makes me feel like shouting "Wahoo!"

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