HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Stock Option
HTS Overall Score:69
Made for TV movies are usually a bit hit or miss for me. Usually a miss really, as they tend to feel like Hallmark Classic films rather than someone that was put together with anything resembling talent. Usually the actors over act to the nth degree and the sappy nature of the plots are at level 11 out of 10. “Stock Option” isn’t any different in those stereotypes, but for once I actually had a pretty good time. The film isn’t going to win any awards, and the neither are the actors for the above mentioned reasons, but it hit just the right amount of heart strings and just the right amount of jokes for me to forgive some of the more glaring flaws in the script. “Stock Option” is what I like to call a “surprisingly entertaining waste of time”.
I know we all show some charitable pity on the homeless, but sometimes we lose sight on the human behind that dirty exterior. Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand that many are there due to mental illness or due to wanting a handout (I’ve run into plenty of both), but not everyone is out there on the street who actually wants to be there. Sometimes a wrong turn in life can lead you to financial ruin without anyone to turn to. Such is the life of Marvelous, aka Marv (Amin Joseph). He sits outside of a talent agency begging for loose change and no one would ever be the wiser that he was anything but a lowly bum. That is until print actress Alina (Antoinique Smith) takes pity on the poor guy and slips him some extra money on the side. Alina has it all in comparison to Marv. She’s got a good income, a steady boyfriend and no cares in the world. Well, except for the fact that her boyfriend, Reggie (Todd Anthony), is a complete SLEAZEBAG who manipulates her at every corner. Ditching her for a few weeks after an argument, Reggie leaves Alina alone only for her to get mugged. Thankfully Marv happens to walk by and chases off the would-be attacker.
Seeing something behind the dirt and grime, Alina takes Marv into her home and feeds the good looking “bum” as thanks. Allowing Marv to stay on her couch she dresses him up and tries to help him get a good job. It’s slow at first, but he slowly gaining traction. Marv gets a job from a friend of Alina’s and seems to be heading on an upward path. That is until Reggie comes home and decides that his normal sleazy nature will take new lows as he lets his jealous nature take it out on his “competition”. Sticking a wedge between the two, Reggie watches in glee as he takes Marv’s new found happiness and runs it through the muck, while Alina is hard pressed to believe the street person she thought she called friend.
“Stock Option” is what I would call a standard TV movie rom com. It’s uninventive, unpolished and definitely over acted. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a horrible movie. The overacting IS at level 11 here, with Amin Joseph cheesing it up as the overly exuberant Marv and Tasha Smith really making herself rather annoying as best friend LaTonja. Both characters can be sweet, yet simply annoying at the same time due to the direction. Not to mention that Aaron Spears role as their financial advisor, William, is beyond ludicrous. Every time William or LaTonja opened their mouths I started wincing REALLY bad.
The same goes for the overly clichéd pot lines that end up feeling a bit forced. Marv is a hunky specimen of a man who doesn’t really look homeless besides the dirt on him. He’s clean shaven, well-muscled, no signs of wear or fatigue. Just a bit dirty. Also, we all know that Alina and Marv are “destined” (or should I say written) to fall for each other. It’s just the simple facts of being a made for TV rom com. Still, there’s enough fun and entertainment to keep me reasonably satisfied with the film. Marv is really a likeable guy. Everything he does is the epitome of a gentleman, and he comes across as very affable and well meaning. It’s the real shining star of the movie to watch Marv actually able to pull himself back up and NOT come out a millionaire by the end of the movie, as many of these types of films over simplify. Their last minute love proposal was a bit cheesy and rushed, but the 80 minute runtime of the movie allowed the short little rom com to never overstay its welcome.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=62865[/img]The 1.78:1 MPEG2 encoded DVD looks very pleasing for a budget release. I’ve had some issues with these made for TV movies of this genre in the past, mainly due to inconsistent camera usage and the like. Thankfully “Stock Option” doesn’t show any major issues in regards to lighting, different cameras obviously being used and other such annoyances. The film is warm and cheery, with a soft color palate that relies on warm brights and strong primaries. Mainly in the red and golden category. Black levels are consistent throughout the film and show only mild crush with a hint of banding. The fine detail is good, with a thin layer of softness to the image which keeps it from being absolutely razor sharp. Still, it’s a fine looking image that I have no qualms about considering it’s a budget release vs. the latest blockbuster from Disney.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=62873[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital track fares just a bit better. It’s a tad front heavy, with only a little bit of surround usage, but the overall experience is quite good with a strong sense of presence in the front sound stage. Dialog is clean and clear, with no sounds of obvious distortion. Fidelity is strong with no obvious mixing issues except one time where Marv and Alina were talking at the table after Marv's two friends were kicked out where a repeatable "pop" could be heard in the left front speaker. There’s a little bit of LFE strewn throughout the mix, mainly used to accentuate the score, and the surrounds get a nod here and there with simple ambient noises.
“Stock Option” isn’t an inventive film for the rom com genre, but despite some script flaws and some blatant overacting and stereotyping, it manages to survive quite well amongst others of its genre. I enjoyed Marv’s interactions with everyone around him, even if the rest of the characters were rather annoying at times, and the well-trodden storyline was pleasantly enjoyable despite my own misgivings. There’s some sweetness, some outrage and a slightly over simplified look at the homeless phenomenon in general which leads me to say that this actually doesn’t make a half bad rental.
Starring: Amin Joseph, Antonique Smith, Tasha Smith
Directed By: Mark Harris
Written By: Mark Harris
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0
Runtime: 80 Minutes
DVD Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Buy Stock Option DVD on Amazon
More about Mike