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Arrested Development: Season 3 DVD Review

Arrested Development: Season 3

September 15, 2006

Director: Paul Feig, Bob Berlinger, John Fortenberry, John Amodeo,
Starring: Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter,

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DVD Review

It’s really amazing that Arrested Development lasted as long as it did on network television. It featured idiosyncratic dialogue, intricately plotted seasons and wildly eccentric characters that were just too smart and too offbeat to garner the kind of ratings to justify its continued existence. And so it was with some surprise that it was renewed for a third season. However, in retrospect, the writing was already on the wall and when the network shortened the show’s season to 13 episodes the end seemed inevitable.

Michael Bluth (Bateman) finally realizes that his uncle Oscar (Tambor) is serving time in prison and not his father, George Sr. (Tambor). So, he and his son George-Michael (Cera) set out to find George Sr. and place him under house arrest. The season premiere continues the on-going story arc of the family business troubles and George Sr. on the lam while also skewering the notion of the bond between fathers and sons. There are also the usual throwaway gags that fly fast and furious, supported by Ron Howard’s amusing voiceover narration that often comments ironically on what we are watching.

The family continues to make Michael’s life a living hell as they inadvertently sabotage his relationship with his new girlfriend Rita (Charlize Theron) who turns out to be manipulated by her father (Dave Thomas) trying to sabotage the Bluth family. Michael, in turn, spends most of his time trying to diffuse his family’s many dubious schemes, like Buster (Hale) enrolling in the armed forces or George Sr.’s attempt to escape from house arrest or Tobias’ (Cross) inadvertent liaison with the CIA.

“Mr F” features a hilarious spoof of old Godzilla movies that dovetails rather cleverly into a ridiculous scheme to lure Japanese investors and provide a bonding experience between GOB (Arnett) and Buster.

There is also no shortage of outrageous characters. Where else could you find Henry Winkler playing an inept lawyer who ends up disguising himself as a member of the Blue Man Group and charging $50 to make out with total strangers (he assumes that’s the going rate in Los Angeles). More Happy Days alumni show up when Scott Baio plays the Bluth’s new attorney (replacing Winkler), Bob Loblaw.

All things considered, Arrested Development had a good run and went out while it was still in its prime. It also proved that just because a show is the critic’s darling doesn’t ensure its survival. Rest assured that its dedicated following will continue to keep the flame alive and at least we have three solid seasons to enjoy on DVD.

Special Features:

The first disc features an audio commentary on “Forget Me Now” with creator Mitchell Hurwitz and cast members Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, and Jessica Walter. This is a typically rowdy track as everyone jokes with each other and us as they mention “working” currently on season four. The sheer amount of jokes told during this track almost outdoes the ones in the episode itself.

Everyone returns for the commentary on “Mr F.” Hurwitz tries to call Jeffrey Tambor via his cell phone and actually manages to get through but the reception is awful. He also talks about how the powers that be tried to cut down on their expensive sets and they had to find creative ways around it. We also get more of the same kind of raucous behaviour from the previous track as they poke fun at the show as well.

There are deleted and extended scenes for five episodes.

The second disc features a commentary on “Development Arrested” by the same participants as on the other tracks. This commentary is further proof that people like David Cross, Will Arnett and Jason Bateman are naturally funny as they riff on what we are watching and make sarcastic comments about this being the final episode. Arnett and Bateman turn out to be real potty mouths as they try to one up each other with dirty jokes.

“Blooper Reel” features a collection of blown lines and pratfalls with the swearing intact that are pretty funny.

“The Last Day on Location” features footage of the last day of shooting mixed with footage of Bateman reflecting on what the show has meant to him in an affectionate, mini-tribute to the show.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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Rating: 92%

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