On April 27, 2007, a little independent movie premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival. The audience laughed, they cried… but mostly, they laughed. The film? David Mackay’s Ten Inch Hero. Initially only making its appearances at special screenings and film festivals, two years later, this charming film has made its way to DVD as a Blockbuster exclusive. Does it do the movie justice? Ten Inch Hero is a romantic comedy centering around a sandwich shop in Santa Cruz, CA, where the motto for employment is “Help Wanted – normal people need not apply,” leading to a staff of colorful and often hysterical twenty-somethings. Tish (Danneel Harris) just can’t find the right guy, but has fun looking; Jen (Clea DuVall) struggles with the complications of online romance; Priestly (Jensen Ackles) is the kilt-wearing, tattooed rebel who doesn’t mind being a bit different. Lastly, Piper (Elisabeth Harnois) jumpstarts the entire story, traveling to Santa Cruz in search of her daughter that she put up for adoption years ago. The movie itself is quirky, fun, and clever.
On the comedy end of “romantic comedy,” it’s got more one-liners that will make you laugh out loud than you can count and a snappiness to its writing that is quick and witty without being overdone. Personal favorites include reading Priestly’s t-shirts on a shot-to-shot basis—you’d be surprised at how often they change—and a now famous supply run scene. Not familiar with it and not quite sold on the movie itself? Hop on YouTube and search for “Ten Inch Hero scene.” You’ll love it. On the romance side, each and every character has a romantic obstacle to overcome, all through vastly different means. Everyone has their eye on someone else, and no one seems to notice.
Sound a little contrived? Well, maybe. But Ten Inch Hero is so clever and so just plain charming that it’s easy to look past it, and there’s a good chance that most who see the movie will, too. Of course, if romantic comedy isn’t your genre, this movie probably won’t change your mind. Along with an entertaining story and plenty of laughs, Ten Inch Hero presents us with cast of characters that, while relatively self explanatory on the surface, surprises the viewers with an unexpected complexity and heartfelt amount of emotion. The story and its characters have layers. As mentioned by Mackay in a DVD exclusive interview, “Pretty much every character in this story is disguised in some weird way… everybody in the cast is not really who you think they are underneath it all.”
But with that said about that the movie, let’s talk about the DVD itself.
This is where things begin to fall a bit flat.
The DVD sports about thirty minutes in extras:
- Cast and Crew Interviews/Behind the Scenes
- In the Studio: Recording Original Songs
- Deleted Scenes
- Commentary by Director/Producer David Mackay and Producer Mark Witsken
In name alone, these sound like extras with potential. However, the cast and crew interviews offer very little insight to the film, and much of the time on the extra is taken up by scenes from the movie. This is great for a promo piece, but slightly more redundant for people who have bought the featured film. The songs short is interesting, but only six minutes long. The trailer is necessary, but standard.
And, dare it be said, the outtakes are not entirely that funny.
One place that the extras do shine, however briefly, is the three minutes of deleted scenes. Though it’s understandable why these were taken out of the movie, these scenes prove to be some of the most moving and interesting pieces of the movie.
Despite the lackluster features, this is a DVD worth checking out. As a movie that was given a limited amount of exposure during its time in theaters, Ten Inch Hero’s got a lot going for it: charm, humor, a certain honesty that a lot of romantic comedies seem to be missing, and at the risk of sounding like a sap… warmth. It’s sweet, happy, sad, and everything that makes great movies in this genre just that: great. Say it with me now: I want my Ten Inch Hero.
DVD Extras: C+
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The DVD can be ordered at www.teninchherosales.com.
EM DVD Review
By Lauren Pon
Originally Posted 4.26.09