The Cable Guy
- Street Date:
- March 1st, 2011
- Reviewed by:
- M. Enois Duarte
- Review Date: 1
- March 1st, 2011
- Movie Release Year:
- 96 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Rated PG-13
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Jim Carrey plays his signature loud, manic self as the somewhat likable but deranged Ernie "Chip" Douglas in the 1996 cult film 'The Cable Guy.' Despite being his usual one-dimensional persona, his customary antics and irritable tomfoolery actually work in this wacky brew of creepiness and hilarity. Since the eccentric cable installer is meant to be seen as a really weird dude with a very odd speech impediment, it's to Carrey's advantage, because there's honestly no one better at being freakishly abnormal. Especially when a camera is pointed right at them. Still, the 'In Living Color' alum is eerie in his portrayal of a TV obsessed loon who only wants to be best buds.
The always affable and mild-mannered Matthew Broderick is there to sort of ground the insanity, but he spends most of his time trying to keep up with Carrey's frenzied pace. As the recently-dumped and reserved Steven Kovacs, Broderick can be just as oddly entertaining as Chip, but acts uncomfortably stiff around Carrey, like he's unsure whether he should be equally goofy. Then again, the real problem could be with the character — a little whiner who can't, for some unknown reason, say no to his stalker. Even when Chip crashes a family dinner, Steven fails to see it as the opportune time to explain that Chip's the reason for his incarceration!
Jack Black joins the cast and goes against type by actually acting. He plays Steven's only friend Rick, and has a few moments of increasing jealousy which show potential at a good story but are never taken to fruition. It would have been interesting to see Black's loud-mouth antics go toe-to-toe with Carrey's — a true clash of the titans where the two battle for who can be more obnoxious for cheap laughs. But right now, we watch a heated contest of who plays a better background prop, Black or Leslie Mann, as Steven's girlfriend.
Admittedly, 'The Cable Guy' is a bit of a guilty pleasure, offering the occasional guffaw here and there. Despite its flaw in logic, that same dinner party mentioned is good for a chuckle when everyone plays "Porno Password." The highlight is, of course, the sequence at Medieval Times restaurant when Chip and Steven battle it out as knights. I'm not sure why, but I enjoy that scene, especially when Carrey loudly hums the music from episode 30 of Star Trek, "Amok Time." (You don't have to say it. I already feel like the biggest nerd ever for knowing that.) Then there's the 'Midnight Express' reference that always makes me laugh, along with various other classic TV and movie references throughout.
The bizarre dark comedy, from a script by Lou Holtz Jr. and re-written by an uncredited Judd Apatow, essentially combines the unsettledness of 'Single White Female,' 'Fatal Attraction' and 'Play Misty for Me' — which actually makes a cameo appearance — with the zaniness of the buddy film. Ben Stiller, who also makes an appearance in a courtroom drama that calls to mind the Menendez trial, displays some talent behind the camera and pushes the movie to some fairly nightmarish segments. In the end, 'The Cable Guy' is not quite the laugh-riot it desperately wants to be, but it has its moments of wicked joviality, thanks mostly to Carrey playing his usual raucous shtick.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment celebrates 'The Cable Guy' on Blu-ray with this 15th Anniversary Edition of the Ben Stiller comedy. The Region Free, BD50 disc comes in a blue eco-vortex case. Once in the player, viewers are greeted with a promo for Sony Blu-ray products and a skippable preview for 'The Green Hornet.' Afterwards, the standard menu selection with full-motion clips of the movie fills the screen.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
'The Cable Guy' pesters Blu-ray with a strong 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (2.40:1) that feels fresh and newly remastered, but doesn't quite compare to the high-standards seen in other, sometimes older, catalog titles.
The transfer shows great definition in clothing, architectural details, and minor background objects throughout Steven's apartment. Fine lines and textures are resolute and distinct in the healthy facial complexions of actors, especially in close-ups. A few scenes are noticeably softer than the rest, with a slight drop in resolution, bringing the entire presentation down a notch. Black levels are inky, deep, and penetrating, giving the image appreciable depth and a nice cinematic quality. Delineation is equally attractive, revealing plenty of small details within the overbearing shadows. Contrast is crisp and comfortably bright, but highlights tend to look a bit blown out and overexposed — a very negligible nuisance. Colors are bold and cleanly rendered, but they also appear somewhat artificial and overstated.
Still, none of this overly distracting, and the overall video looks very good on Blu-ray.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Accompanying the transfer is a very enjoyable DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.
The design is put to great comedic effect, taking advantage of the wide openness of the front soundstage. Channel separation is well-balanced with accurate off-screen effects, and vocals are highly intelligible, making clear the nuance in Carrey's performance and the signature speech-impediment of Chip Douglas. Dynamics are sharply rendered and expansive, with good room-penetrating clarity, while a responsive low end delivers a powerful oomph to those scenes requiring some depth. Aside from a few atmospherics, particularly the sequence at Medieval Times, and later during a thunderstorm, rear activity is reserved for music and song selections, nicely expanding the soundfield and surrounding the listener.
This lossless mix isn't exactly blow-your-socks-off caliber, but for its genre, it's very entertaining and a great listen on Blu-ray.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
When the movie first hit DVD in 1997, it was a bare-bones release. Fifteen years later, Sony rectifies that mistake with a loaded set of bonus features, made special for the movie's 15th anniversary and available only for HD owners. See below.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
For this Blu-ray edition of 'The Cable Guy,' Sony Pictures puts together a large collection of supplements exclusive to the format, since the movie is being re-released only on Blu-ray.
- Audio Commentary — Director Ben Stiller is joined by Jim Carrey and Judd Apatow for this recently-recorded commentary track. It's a surprisingly enjoyable and funny conversation where three men have difficulty actually talking about the movie. They spend most of their time cracking jokes and making off-topic remarks generally related to their experience working together, amusing anecdotes on the set and explaining how the comedy pushed boundaries as the first "bromance." The only times they ever stop talking is to enjoy some random scene where Carrey is doing something silly or to discuss how a cast member became involved with the picture. Fans will definitely love the entertaining discussion, but everyone should give this audio track a listen.
- HBO First Look (SD, 24 min) — This is standard EPK material that originally aired on HBO and features interviews with cast and crew discussing the plot and the production.
- Comedy Central Canned Ham (SD, 22 min) — Another EPK piece that premiered on the Comedy Central station and was hosted by Judd Apatow, interviewing Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick, Jim Carrey, and Leslie Mann. It feels very 90s, but it's entertaining nonetheless.
- Rehearsals (SD, 17 min) — Five scenes are gathered here showing the cast practice their lines and choreography. They can be watched individually or in order.
- Nightmare Camera Test (SD, 1 min) — This is footage of Jim Carrey trying on his costume for the nightmare scene in the movie.
- Leslie Mann Audition (SD, 3 min) — Just as the title suggests, the actress reads a few lines while in character.
- Gag Reel (SD, 7 min) — A series of line flubs, on-set accidents and other random shenanigans while filming the movie.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes (SD) — A nice collection of nine scenes that didn't make it to the final cut of the film.
- Music Video (SD, 5 min) — Jim Cantrell performs "Leave Me Alone."
- Trailers (HD) — Along with the original theatrical preview for 'The Cable Guy,' a Sony Blu-ray promo is followed by trailer for 'The Green Hornet.'
- BD-Live — The disc is also enabled with Sony's standard BD-Live portal including trailers and the option to register the disc.
Fifteen years ago, at the height of his popularity, Jim Carrey went to the dark side with the cult favorite 'The Cable Guy.' Directed by Ben Stiller, the black comedy is a strange and amusing trip through obsessive bromance desires and the consequences of slipping the cable guy an extra $50 bucks. It also stars Matthew Broderick, Leslie Mann, and Jack Black, all overshadowed by the loud, physical antics of Carrey. The Blu-ray arrives as a 15th Anniversary Edition. It features a strong picture, enjoyable audio, and an exclusive set of bonus features, making this a great package for fans. Everyone else give it a look for a decent night of dark comedy.
- BD-50 Dual Layer Disc
- Region Free
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround
- French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- English SDH
Exclusive HD Content
- Audio Commentary
- Gag Reel
- Deleted Scenes
- Music Video
- BD-Live Functionality
All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More
about our gear.
Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.