DVD reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
ZenWave Cables and SurgeX ZenWave Edition Review
REDGUM BLACK RGi35ENR Integrated Amplifier Review
Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review
iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews
Marantz M-CR611 Network CD Receiver Review
Latest AV News
Most Popular DVD Reviews
Past DVD Hardware / Software News
Joe's Apartment Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 March 1999

Joe's Apartment

Warner Home Video
MPAA rating: PG-13
starring: Jerry O’Connell, Megan Ward, Robert Vaughn
release year: 1996
film rating: Two and a half stars
reviewed by: Abbie Bernstein

This much can be said for ‘Joe’s Apartment’: it’s different. How different? Name another movie that focuses on singing cockroaches. No fair citing ‘Antz’ and ‘A Bug’s Life’: those are ants, ladybugs, caterpillars and grasshoppers. No, the stars of ‘Joe’s Apartment’ are the same little critters that few humans have anything kind to say about.
Joe (Jerry O’Connell) is newly arrived in New York from Iowa, who finally (through a twist of fate) finds an apartment. The place is infested with 40,000 talking cockroaches, but Joe is so easygoing and personally sloppy that he doesn’t really mind -- except when the kibbitzing creatures start to interfere with his work and love life. Another problem is a homicidal landlord, who wants the building emptied at all costs.

Writer/director John Payson has expanded his MTV short to feature length, and therein lies the rub. Once he gets past the concept and his admirable technical expertise on a budget, he doesn’t know where to go, so material that is quite funny in a 10-minute burst becomes pretty tiring over the 80-minute running time. Payson supplies just enough through-line to require some tedious exposition scenes, without setting ground rules or story twists that would keep us engaged beyond his novelty hook.

Still, the hook itself should not be underestimated. ‘Joe’s Apartment’ does have plenty of loony little highlights, starting with an a capella ode to New York, sung by the cockroaches over the opening credits. The giddily absurd, gleefully gross lyrics and music are by Kevin Weist, whose ‘Garbage in the Moonlight’ (heard in Chapter 7) is an ode worth of the Dr. Demento Show. Chapter 15 features roaches breakdancing and doing Busby Berkeley routines in a toilet bowl and Chapter 20 sends up the Beach Boys’ ‘Surfin’ Safari’ as the heroic if pesky roaches ride the waves of the New York sewer system.

The colors are cartoon bright and the music tends to be a bit high and tinny, a la Alvin and the Chipmunks, but this is the point (and if you think 80 minutes straight of this is a bit much, see above comments). O’Connell does a fine job of interacting with both digitally added and genuine cockroaches -- if there were some sort of acting award for maintaining a calm demeanor in squeamish circumstances, he’d be a shoe-in.

‘Joe’s Apartment’ is actually entertaining if viewed in increments. It does, of course, have a built-in brag factor, which brings us back to this crucial matter: if you want to be able to truthfully tell your friends that you’ve watched a movie with all-cockroach production numbers, this is a must-see.

more details
sound format:
English Dolby Surround Stereo; French Dolby Surround Stereo
aspect ratio(s):
1:3:3 (full-screen, modified from original format)
special features: French Language Track, Chapter Search
comments: email us here...
reference system
DVD player: Kenwood DV-403
receiver: Kenwood VR-407
main speakers: Paradigm Atom
center speaker: Paradigm CC-170
rear speakers: Paradigm ADP-70
subwoofer: Paradigm PDR-10
monitor: 27-inch Toshiba

Like this article? Bookmark and share with any of the sites below.
Digg!Reddit!Del.icio.us!Google!StumbleUpon!Yahoo!Free social bookmarking plugins and extensions for Joomla! websites!

  home theater news  |  equipment reviews 
  blu-ray reviews  |  dvd  |  theatrical reviews  
  music download reviews  |  music disc reviews
  contact  |  about-us  |  careers   |  brands 
  RSS   |  AVRev Forums
  front page  |  virtual tours  |  dealer locator
  how to features  |   lifestyle & design articles
  Want Your Home Theater Featured on MHT?
   CE Partners: HDD  |  HDF  |  VGT  |  SD  |  DVD
  Advertise with Us | Specs | Disclaimer | Sponsors
  privacy policy | cookie policy | terms of use
  909 N. Sepulveda Blvd. El Segundo, CA 90245
  Ads: 310.280.4476 | Contact Us
  Content: 310.280.4575 | Mike Flacy