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For the Boys

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In an epilogue taped for this disc, director Mark Rydell (The Rose) congratulates viewers for having ”the good taste” to appreciate the format’s ”primo quality.” Is he fishing for a rim shot? This ”special edition” barely beats a rental cassette. It crimps For the Boys‘ original rectangular images, so that when James Caan and Bette Midler take bows as a bickering USO song-and-dance team, you miss a bit of their faces. And the vibrant colors of Bette’s costumes bleed so much that you end up focusing on hues instead of on her.

The four cutting-room outtakes that Rydell introduces don’t add much; the one minor treat, the stars’ rendition of ”Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” suffers from rough-mix sound. Given Boys‘ limited appeal — it’s spun from hoary show-biz cliches that grow more laughably absurd with repeat viewings — maybe the very idea of packaging it as a collectible is for the birds. C-

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