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For its first four seasons, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT never managed to reach a complete season order of twenty two to twenty four episodes. Not entirely sure why CBS only ordered smaller batches of episodes during those first four years. Personally, I always find RULES OF ENGAGEMENT to be a consistent laugh producer thanks to its two most bankable comic assets- Patrick Warburton and David Spade. Like cream, Warburton and Spade always manage to rise to the top, providing the show with its best and most hilarious moments- especially Warburton’s patented deadpan delivery. With the fifth season, CBS finally seemed to recognize that RULES OF ENGAGEMENT had more potential than to fill vacant slots in the schedule, as the show appears well on its way to a full season order for 2010-2011.

The basic premise of RULES OF ENGAGEMENT focuses on three different stages of relationships, we have the old married couple represented by Jeff (Patrick Warburton) and Audrey (Megyn Price), young love in the form of the engaged couple Adam (Oliver Hudson) and Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich), and finally, the single lifestyle comes to us in womanizing horndog Russell (David Spade), whose dalliances have to be cleaned up by his put upon personal assistant Timmy (Adhir Kalyan). RULES OF ENGAGEMENT generates much of its comedy from the clashing worlds and clashing attitudes of the afore mentioned different stages of relationships.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON ($30) comes to DVD in a two-disc set that features the following thirteen episodes that were aired during year four: Flirting, Snoozin For A Bruisin', Atlantic City, Ghost Story, The Four Pillars, 3rd Wheel, Indian Giver, Free Free Time, The Score, The Surrogate, The Reunion, Harassment and They Do?. Season four finds Jeff and Audrey trying to become pregnant, while Adam and Jennifer move closer to their nuptials.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON available on DVD in a 1.78:1 widescreen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. As with the previous season releases the episodes look better on DVD than they do in a typical SD broadcast, yet come up short in comparison to HD. The DVDs produce a sharp and nicely defined image. Colors are rendered with an appealing level of saturation, while the flesh tones come across in an attractive manner. Blacks are accurate, whites are clean and the contrast quite good thanks to better than average sitcom lighting. Visual imperfections are virtually absent. Digital compression artifacts remain under the radar.

All of the episodes that constitute RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON come with Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtracks. This is fairly standard sitcom sound, so the soundtracks get the job done without any flourishes. Like any typical sitcom, the sound design for RULES OF ENGAGEMENT is dialogue driven and center channel heavy. Channel separations are fairly modest, but the sound has been given enough of a spread to be effective. Fidelity is good for a television production; the music sounds fine and sound effects are fairly convincing. Dialogue is crisp and always easy to understand. No other language tracks or subtitles have been included on the DVD.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard episode selection and set up features, although no supplemental content has been provided.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT remains an amusing sitcom that benefits from the presence of Warburton and Spade. Sony’s DVD collection outclasses SD broadcasts and will tickle fans.


Rules of Engagement: The Complete Fourth Season (2010)



DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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