The names Bruce Willis, Kim Basinger, John Larroquette, and Phil Hartman certainly bring you back to the ’80s, don’t they? With all of them together in a comedy from director Blake Edwards, who wouldn’t be excited? Well, back in 1987, critics sure weren’t. Blind Date opened to lukewarm reviews, but still managed to become a box office hit, paving the way for Willis in starring roles. And as hard as it is to imagine that this came out before Die Hard, it’s probably even more unimaginable for today’s audiences to think that Willis used to be heavily involved in comedy. Remember Moonlighting? Anyone? In any case, Edwards’ screwball comedy makes its Blu-ray debut on January 14.
Walter Davis (Willis) loves his job – despite dealing with grotesque sex stories dealt from a co-worker. Walter’s brother Ted (Hartman) thinks Walter works too hard and wants to set him up on a blind date. After some resistance, Walter finally agrees to go out with Nadia (Basinger). And thus begins the worst night of Walter’s life. As Walter ignores his sister-in-law Susie’s (Stephanie Faracy) warning about Nadia and alcohol because of Ted’s facetious encouragement, Nadia transforms into the wildest party animal outside a college on spring break. Things go from bad to worse as Nadia’s ex-boyfriend David (Larroquette) begins stalking them, and Nadia proceeds to ruin Walter’s life in a matter of hours. But will true love prevail? In typical rom-com fashion, you probably already know the answer. But it’s the getting there that’s the fun part.
Image Entertainment debuts Blind Date in a better-than-average transfer. As it is presented on a 25GB disc in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, I was worried about how the rest of the film would look considering how soft the first few scenes were. But once Walter gets to work, the image is consistently sharp, and fine detail is probably better than it was in theaters. From Willis’s suits to Basinger’s hair to pine trees and couches, the level of detail on display is quite surprising for an ’80s comedy.
Contrast is stable and blacks are dark but never crushing. Colors pop, especially Nadia’s red dress, but never bloom or bleed. Noise never creeps in during the night scenes and the typical anomalies never try to drag things down: banding, aliasing, all absent. The only audio track available is a pretty sad 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Normally I can review discs with the volume set around 23, but for this one, I had it cranked up to 35, and even then, I only noticed surround activity when shifting closer to the speakers. Once you find a higher listening level, it sounds quite good however. English subtitles are included, but there are no special features whatsoever. Not even a trailer.
Blind Date will never go down as a classic, but we all know Blake Edwards has cobbled together far worse. While never living up to his early career standards, it never pretends to be in the same league. But Edwards is still better than most at whipping up his farce to hilarious extremes. Willis and Basinger make a fun couple on their disastrous night out and the supporting cast – particularly Larroquette and Hartman — even steal a few scenes. Boy Meets World‘s Mr. Feeny (William Daniels) also gets some big laughs. I used to watch Blind Date quite often back in the time of VHS and I remember being excited to see the film finally available in widescreen for its DVD release. Now, Blind Date looks better than ever on Blu-ray and is worth a purchase, even if it is a bare-bones release.