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Better Living Through Chemistry [DVD]

13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Michelle Monaghan, Jane Fonda
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, German, Italian, Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 7 April 2014
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00GBWI6NY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,068 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

A small town pharmacist’s uneventful life is turned inside out when a chance encounter with a lonely trophy wife turns into a walk on the wild side in this murderously funny dark comedy starring Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde.

Doug Varney (Sam Rockwell) has been disregarded for years by everyone from his domineering wife Kara (Michelle Monaghan) to the goldbricking employees at the drugstore he bought from his insufferable father-in-law. When Doug embarks on an exhilarating drug-and-alcohol fuelled affair with Elizabeth (Olivia Wilde) - the most glamorous woman he has ever met - no-one is more surprised than he is.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Noon on 17 Mar. 2014
Format: DVD
Not a bad film actually.

It begins with a toy town scene depicting various scenes from the film using plastic models with an almost 1960's soundtrack. It's about a severely put upon nice guy, chemist (Doug) who is taken advantage of by everyone including his employees, wife, over bearing father-in-law (Walter), dysfunctional son (Ethan), he's a weird one. There's an intermittent voice over from Jane Fonda, which doesn't get in the way at all. It's a bit of a comedy of errors when the chemist meets a very naughty and fairly drug addled, sweary, unhappily married, house wife (Elizabeth) who eventually seduces him.

The whole thing spirals out of control, as these things tend to, I'd rather not add spoiler's to this review...suffice to say that you will recall that Doug is a qualified chemist, therefore, it shouldn't take a huge leap of imagination to get the gist of what happens, but be careful what you imagine it might come true ...worth a watch, but watch out for the plot twists!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Movie Guy TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 April 2014
Format: DVD
In a small idyllic town, the village pharmacist knows everyone's secrets. Doug Varney (Sam Rockwell) has a fitness compulsive wife (Michelle Monaghan) an unruly child (Harrison Holzer) and an irritating narrator (Jane Fonda). Stuck in a rut he meets rich wife Elizabeth (Olivia Wilde) who breaks Doug out and instills confidence in him through an affair and pills.

The film reminded me of a generic Magnolia indie. Let's throw together some quirky characters, get a couple of names, create an unlikely scenario, toss in a few cliches, an appropriate sound track and stir. There was nothing overly entertaining in the film, yet at the same time I wasn't bored waiting for something to happen. For those who can't get enough of the clever and quirky indies, you might get a quick fix from this film.

Parental Guide: F-bomb. Sex.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One question puzzles viewers of this film from the beginning to the end: Why on earth is it narrated by Jane Fonda? I think I worked it out at last – she’s the agony aunt of some third class waiting room magazine and the question she’s answering this time is something along the lines of: “I spend my life being everybody’s doormat – can chemistry improve my life?” And, according to agony Aunt Jane, it can.

In the fairy tale that Auntie Jane tells us to make her point, she’s equipped the protagonist with a small-town pharmacy, to make sure he has a good supply of chemicals to experiment with. At the beginning, he doesn’t quite know what to do with that, other than quietly enjoying the intimate information he has about lots of people in the town.

In the course of an evening delivery to a posh address he meets a very conventionally attractive woman in a very transparent negligee, who describes herself as a trophy wife and complains of the terminal boredom that comes with this job. She has the bright idea that the pharmacists, who has “solutions for everybody but himself” might find the formula to change his life on the shelves of his workplace. The drugs work magic on him, lifting his love life, sporting achievements, and even his hair.

What else can you do with chemistry? Oh, yes, murder people. The chemically enhanced couple have a half-hearted go at that, but the scriptwriters (Geoff Moore and David Posamentier, who also direct) clearly shied away from the dark side and hastened to return to the safer ground of lesser crimes.

What is disturbing about the movie is its morality about drugs, reflected not only in Auntie Jane’s voiceover recommending misuse of prescription drugs but also in the reckoning at the end. Watch out who gets punished and who gets away. And perhaps you shouldn’t follow Auntie Jane’s advice.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lola TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Mar. 2014
Format: DVD
I watched it on a Sunday, time flew by.

This funny dark comedy (with a hint of drama) "Better Living Through Chemistry" is a story of a small suburban town pharmacist (Sam Rockwell) and that period of his uneventful life, when it is turned inside out by his unexpected affair with a local pageant beauty queen, and now prescription drugs addicted wife of a local businessmen (played by Olivia Wilde). The film centres on their affair and the notorious plan to get rid of the rich husband and start their life together, preferably somewhere in Europe. The rollercoaster ride of events follows, some more predictable than others.

The story is narrated by no other than Jane Fonda, which I found quite amusing, she even makes an appearance in the end. "Better Life Through Chemistry", perhaps is not the darkest black comedy I've ever seen, but it's amusing, well-cast (Michelle Monaghan and Ray Liotta, amongst others) and special for its smart, faintly naughty one-liners.
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By bernie VINE VOICE on 19 May 2015
Format: DVD
The story, mostly narration, paints a glum picture for pharmacist Doug Varney (Sam Rockwell). His wife (Michelle Monaghan) is a self-centered daddy's girl. His son is an out of control defecator. His father-in-law rules the roost. Well you get the picture.

Then he saw her face; customer Elizabeth Roberts (Elizabeth Roberts) is everything he ever wanted. She leads him down the rabbit hole to explore sex, drugs and possibly murder.

As his world unravels we unravel with him. Looks like he has had it.

I was caught off guard with the cameo at the end. I should have suspected from the narration.
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