John Ritter Adult Laugher

After original choice Dudley Moore rejected the role, Hollywood filmmaker Blake Edwards (Breakfast At Tiffany’s, The Pink Panther) cast John Ritter in his underrated romp Skin Deep. An outrageously funny comedy made for adults, the sexy 1989 flick follows in the tradition of “10”. Displaying the easygoing charm Ritter developed as Jack Tripper on Three’s Company, the former sitcom star plays an unrepentant womanizer who learns single life may not be everything it’s cracked up to be after twenty years of marriage.

The comedy mines adultery, marital strife, alcoholism, and dating high jinks for laughs, not to mention a tidbit of light pathos. Skin Deep is a star-driven vehicle made perfectly around actor John Ritter and his carefree antics with a bevy of women.

Blake Edwards writes and directs the show, wisely letting Ritter bounce off the ensemble supporting cast with often hilarious results. Edwards did much the same thing with Peter Sellers for his Pink Panther movies. Let a talented comedic actor do his thing and get out of their way. The result is a rewarding, funny film built on top of the well-meaning humor and Ritter’s charisma.

Skin Deep is one of Blake Edwards’ better films, an engaging and often raunchy comedy made for adults

Zach is a married writer living in L.A. with many issues. He’s an alcoholic suffering from writer’s block and can’t seem to stop himself from fooling around with younger women. Found in bed with a mistress in a riotously funny and over-the-top incident, his wife Alex (Alyson Reed) immediately divorces Zach. He soon plunges back into the dating scene around L.A., never really knowing what he wants.

Now a “free” man, the writer has a series of relationship misadventures with the young women he romances. Meeting a wide spectrum of ladies, difficulties start mounting for Zach. The casual womanizing often lands him in difficult and awkward situations. Skin Deep expertly exploits his problems for a litany of wacky moments.

As his life takes a stumble, Zach begins realizing his marriage may not have been that bad after all. Confronting his past demons, Zach takes charge and starts overcoming his problems.

Skin Deep is one of Blake Edwards’ better films, an engaging and often raunchy comedy made for adults with a lively tone and several undeniably funny scenes. One great gag involves a pitch-black screen and a glow-in-the-dark condom. Edwards has a knack for crafting outrageous but inspired set pieces around Ritter’s comedic gifts.

The humor has a distinct ’80s tone with nods to early Woody Allen. Skin Deep approaches love and relationships from a decidedly male perspective. However, Zach’s female companions aren’t written in a negative light or heavily mocked. The screenplay is mostly sympathetic to his lovers. That’s not saying Skin Deep could be made in today’s Hollywood. The sexual mores of Skin Deep are light years away from modern comedy.

Video

Mill Creek licenses the Blake Edwards’ comedy from Morgan Creek. Presumably they provided the clean, if a little dated, HD master. The 1989 movie retains its proper 2.35:1 aspect ratio, presented in solid 1080p resolution. It’s a satisfactory and largely pleasing film transfer, if you can overlook the constant halos and occasional ringing. People that can spot ringing will have a much harder time enjoying the presentation.

Likely struck from the original camera negative a few years back, healthy color saturation and a perky contrast highlight the warmish palette. The AVC encode is somewhat questionable. Skin Deep’s 100-minute running time, fit on a BD-25 with so-so compression parameters, displays bouts of mosquito noise and chunky grain.

A touch of softness creeps into the mostly consistent elements, largely free of debris and noticeable wear. A blip of telecine wobble creeps into the video. Skin Deep on Blu-ray isn’t going to wow videophiles but sincerely crisp definition and steady clarity reflect better-than-expected picture quality from Mill Creek’s erratic Blu-ray output.

Audio

Skin Deep’s satisfying stereo mix sounds excellent in 2.0 DTS-HD MA audio with strong production values. The comedy wasn’t made on the cheap and exhibits Hollywood craftsmanship befitting the late 1980s. The dialogue is always clean and intelligible, nicely balanced with unaccredited original music by Hollywood composing legend Henry Mancini.

A few well-known songs highlight the bigger and more impressive audio design elements. Bass response is punchy and tight, a real surprise. Dynamics are impressive for a dialogue-driven comedy.

The disappointment here is that Mill Creek couldn’t include the 5.1 surround mix found on the DVD from Warner.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font, partially displaying outside the scope presentation.

Extras

Special features have never been produced for Skin Deep. The comedy was released by Warner on DVD in a snapper case, giving you an idea of its age. Mill Creek includes the movie’s theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray is listed as Region A. A region-locked German BD exists.

Skin Deep is owned by Morgan Creek, so future editions will depend on a Blu-ray label licensing the film.

Skin Deep Theatrical Trailer (02:32 in SD)

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Skin Deep
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John Ritter channels Jack Tripper for this laugh riot about a troubled womanizer from director Blake Edwards.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 49 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: