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Dustin Putman

Dustin's Blu-ray Review
Blind Date  (1987)
Reviewed by Dustin Putman

The Film
2 Stars
(Release Date: January 14, 2014) – Smack-dab in the middle of his career-boasting run on TV's "Moonlighting" (1985-1989), an up-and-coming actor named Bruce Willis made his feature debut as a leading man with director Blake Edwards' "Blind Date." A very, very '80s screwball romantic comedy, the film has a sure-footed handle on its comedic timing strung within a lacking, contrived screenplay by Dale Launer. Willis plays Walter Davis, a no-nonsense businessman desperate to find a lady to accompany him to a fancy company dinner. Set up on the titular blind date with his sister-in-law's cousin, Walter initially hits it off with the striking Nadia Gates (Kim Basinger), taking her to an art gala and then to a recording studio to listen to a musician's live performance. Foolishly disregarding the warnings to not give her anything to drink, the champagne soon begins to flow. By the time they arrive at the dinner, a loopily inebriated Nadia is feeling no pain, letting loose on the other patrons and getting Walter fired in the process. Stalked by Nadia's bumbling ex-beau (John Larroquette), Walter and his date journey set out on an adventurous night in Los Angeles that finds them sparring and, eventually, falling in love.

"Blind Date" was released in February 1987, six months before the very similar Griffin Dunne-Madonna comedy "Who's That Girl" and a year and a half prior to the Corey Haim-Corey Feldman-Heather Graham up-all-night teen pic "License to Drive." Both of those films are better, more warmly likable and imminently watchable, but they also hold a deeper fondness in my heart because I used to watch them so much as a child. This very specific brand of nostalgia does not exist in regard to "Blind Date," which I had not seen before it's Blu-ray release (for what it's worth, my movie-watching companion had seen it growing up, and was tickled again and again at revisiting it twenty-plus years later). Smartly photographed to capitalize on its physical comedy—bits with a mattress and a golf ball are inspired—but increasingly contrived and longwinded at just 95 minutes, this is the kind of film that has been helmed with skill despite lackluster material. Kim Basinger (who had made headlines the year before with erotic drama "9 1/2 Weeks") is a game, energetic foil, but she shares very little chemistry with Bruce Willis, who walks through the proceedings looking annoyed. Their eventual romance should be the central driving force of the plot, and it flounders.

Blu-ray Picture/Sound

The 1080p transfer of "Blind Date" looks like a high-definition mastering of an old print, but it pulls through with enough additional detail to be a definite step up from its VHS and standard-def DVD days. The unsightly opening Tri-Star studio logo, full of faded, grainy blurriness, is alarming, to say the least, and the first few scenes are only marginally more impressive. A couple minutes later, however, the picture noticeably improves with newfound clarity. While colors could stand to be bolder, there are no further specks and dirt on the print and this appears to be a pretty accurate representation of what the film looked like when it came to theaters twenty-seven years ago. The lossless DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio is full of unexpected oomph when it comes to its music cues and sound effects. Dialogue sparingly sounds ever so slightly muffled, but it's not too much of a hindrance. Overall, the audio sounds very good, even deceiving a few times by sounding like a 5.1 track rather than 2.0.

Blu-ray Features
There are no special features included.

Bottom Line
"Blind Date" is a barebones catalogue title with no bonus features of which to speak, but its technical delivery has far more plusses than minuses. There likely won't be many people calling it a "great" comedy, but it is easy to see why some viewers (particularly those who first saw and enjoyed it in the 1980s) have affection for it all these years later. For passionate fans of "Blind Date," this Blu-ray release will be a must-buy no-brainer. For those who are general fans of the genre and era in question, or the actors, it will also be worth a gander—but maybe wait for a price slashing.

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© 2014 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman