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Universal/1989/102m/WS 2.35

      The best moment in The 'burbs is when Universal's opening globe logo begins a smooth zoom closer and closer to the setting for this manic and unfunny comedy. The only other element in Joe Dante's vision of suburbia that provides any consistent impetus for laughter is Jerry Goldsmith's gothically arch score. The opening moments offer hope that the 'burbs might offer up a fair share of easy laughs, but it fails to deliver even on it's modest promise.
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Mr. Rogers would be appalledİUniversal

What happens when a reclusive family moves into the rundown house next door? It gets the neighbors to talking, that's what, and the topic of conversation is what's going on at night when powerful lights emanating from the basement shake up the foundations of this plastic suburban neighborhood. Before you can say boo the trio of nosiest neighbors has suffered through a bee attack, have broken into a missing neighbor's home and have even made the colossal effort of paying a social call on the Klopeks who have been the object of their conversations since their arrival a month ago.
     Tom Hanks plays burned out Ray Peterson home from work for a week of slovenly down time while Carrie Fisher playing his wife can't convince him to vacation at their lakeside cabin. Bruce Dern is madman ex-soldier Mark Rumsfield , ready to aid and abet any attack on the Klopek household with an array of Army assault equipment and Rick Ducommun plays Art Weingartner who will eat his way through any situation.
     From a one note script by Dana Olsen, Joe Dante's direction plods along with no imagination nor originality. The actors seem in the dark in the daylight and fully exposed at night. They just don't a center of humor to work with and Dante can't seem to offer them any assistance. This is one neighborhood that no one will want to visit.
     The DVD performs ably in every respect. Sharp images show little evidence of edge enhancement and color saturation is uniformly strong and accurate. Shadow detail is well balanced and contrast provides deep blacks and pure blue skies without crushing information. The organ chords from the Goldsmith score reverberate with gleeful menace in the surrounds on the Dolby Digital 2-channel surround recording. The explosions are visually and sonically on target. An alternate ending is also included.