[box cover]

Satisfaction

In 1982, NBC-TV launched "Family Ties" to a receptive audience — the political-generation-gap family comedy aired for seven successful seasons, and it was noted as President Reagan's favorite TV show of the time. A lot of its success could be credited to breakout star Michael J. Fox, who played a conservative teen at odds with his liberal, baby-boomer parents. Fox's star rose in 1985 as he abandoned movie-of-the-week shots with fellow NBC stars (like Poison Ivy) for the blockbuster smash Back to the Future. Hollywood responded in kind by creating movie vehicles for Fox, who tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to explore his dramatic side while doing formula pictures to modest success. Perhaps appropriate for the Reagan era, Fox's huge celebrity created a form of trickle-down economics, in particular for "Family Ties" co-star Justine Bateman, who was given a lead movie of her own (produced under the NBC umbrella), 1988's Satisfaction. Bateman plays (poorly synched) singer and cowbell artist Jennie Lee, who heads to the west coast with her band to achieve some success. The outfit consists of drummer/tough girl May "Mooch" Stark (Trini Alvarado), guitarist/druggie Billy Swan (Britta Phillips), bassist/slut Daryle Shane (Julia Roberts), and keyboardist/token male of the group Nickie Longo (Scott Coffey). They net a job from washed-up musician and club owner Martin Falcon (Liam Neeson). From there, the drama unfolds: Will Jennie and Martin make it together? Will Nickie and May hook up? Can Billie clean up her act a bit? Who will Daryle end up with? Oh, and yeah, will the band make it to the big time? The fact that Bateman has had few on-screen endeavors since Satisfaction should point out that the film was a failure, and that she didn't have the chops to carry a big-screen picture. But in her defense, it's not like she had good material to work with. Director Joan Freeman stages the movie with little imagination, and the script (by Charles Purpura) couldn't be more formulaic if it was simply a blueprint (and perhaps it was). The musical numbers are mostly covers (including Elvis Costello's "Mystery Dance" and the Jagger/Richards title track), and they have the energy of really good score for an elevator. In fact, the main reasons to revisit the picture are early appearances by Neeson and Roberts, who look fresh and young — this DVD release arrives nearly 20 years since the movie was made. Otherwise, Satisfaction is an instantly forgettable effort, save for a conclusion that offers shockingly sparse resolution. Fox presents the film in both anamorphic (1.78:1) and pan-and-scan transfers with Dolby 2.0 Surround audio. Extras include the theatrical trailer and a music video for "Satisfaction." Keep-case.
—DSH



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