A student gets his senses enhanced by an experimental drug. But abuse is not an option.
I hadn't seen 'Senseless' since high school. I remember liking it enough, due mostly to Marlon Wayans' comedic charm, however I was a bit leery to see if it held up to today's standards. Luckily, it does, even though the 1998 comedy seems a little dated in a few respects. But with its 'R' rating and funny cast, this movie was still a lot of fun.
'Wayne's World' director Penelope Spheeris used some of the same comedic tactics she did with her previous films, meaning she relied mainly on her stars to carry the film through their unique brand of silliness. and with that tactic, it definitely worked, as we see a young Wayans using his rubbery face, much like Jim Carrey in his younger days, to show the over-the-top emotions fans have become so fond of. And with the help of David Spade, playing his usual snide character, this pair is meant for awkward situations and a closet full of laughs.
If you need a refresher course, Wayans plays Darryl Witherspoon, a smart college senior who has entered a contest at a prestigious finance firm in the hopes that he will soon have a successful job on Wall Street. However, his school work and social life are failing due to this demanding job, in addition to the many odd jobs he works at around town to support his tuition and family back home. After you weigh in all of those obstacles, Darryl still has to deal with his snooty and rich classmate Scott Thorpe (Spade), who also wants the same job as Darryl, and tries to sabotage him at every turn.
In order to make ends meet, Darryl signs up to be a test subject for experimental drugs at the university in return for some lucrative cash. Things take a strange turn when this new test drug gives Darryl superhuman senses. Suddenly, he's able to smell, taste, touch, see, and hear things better than any human on the planet, causing some very funny situations and help Darryl succeed in his studies and work.
Since things are going so well, Darryl decides to double up on another dose to see if things will get even better, however everything goes downhill very fast, and the drug side-effects backfire, causing our protagonist to only be able to use four of his senses at a time with the fifth one non-existent. With this help of his roommate Tim (Matthew Lillard) and the scientist (Brad Dourif) in charge of the drug testing, they set out to fix his senses, while keeping Thorpe from sabotaging Darryl.
The thing that keeps this movie afloat is its brilliant comedic actors. The script and story line are inane, but Wayans, Spade, and Rip Torn deliver the dialogue flawlessly, which provides for some big laughs. Yes, the movie is stupid and silly, but it's fun and still holds up today. I would say that 'Senseless' is even better than some of the awful and trite entertainment that passes for comedy these days.
'Senseless' comes with a surprisingly good 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Detail is very sharp and looks better than it ever has. You'll notice the makeup and blemishes on the actor's faces very easily, as well as some minute details in the backgrounds. The colors are bright and vibrant, with good greens, blues, and browns. When Darryl is at the basketball game, the white and blue jerseys really stand out nicely. The skin tones are natural and smooth, and the black levels run deep and inky. I did not notice any edge enhancement here, nor did I notice any aliasing. There were a couple of specs of white from the original source material that flared up, but nothing distracting. Overall, this was a solid video presentation.
This release comes with only a lossless DTS.HD 2.0 audio track. I'm not sure why this didn't have the normal 5.1 audio track, but this 2.0 is actually fairly impressive for being what it is. The dialogue is crystal clear and very easy to understand, and at no point does it trump other sound effects or music too much. The music in the film actually packs a bit of a kick, complete with some bass for rumbling. There's not really any directionality to this, and the ambient noise can be heard, but feels very one-dimensional, due to it's 2.0. I would have hoped for a 5.1 audio track of course, but this 2.0 does well for what it is.
'Senseless' proves the test of comedy time and is still funny, mainly due to Wayans' and Spade's delivery and comedic timing. The video is top notch with the audio sounding good, but could it have been so much more. The only extra is a short scene specific making of, which is funny, but nothing to write home about. That being said, this Blu-ray is so cheap, it's worth purchasing for the movie alone.