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directed by Kirt Gunn
USA 2007


Marion Walker (Carrie Preston, TV's TRUE BLOOD) is experience writer's block with her first novel. The story is about Humkin (Michael Chernus, THE MESSENGER) and Mopekey (Dallas Roberts, 3:10 TO YUMA) who live on a boat in the middle of a field, subsisting on milk and cereal delivered by a milk truck. Their world is fictional, but Humkin realizes that he is a fictional character and wants to break free while Mopekey wants to stay. Marion's former writing teacher - with whom she has been romantically involved - Jackson (Austin Pendleton, A BEAUTIFUL MIND) tells her that her story has no conflict and advises her to kill off Humkin, the character she most identifies with, and focus on the Mopekey in the aftermath (the "kill your babies" adage). Reluctantly, Marion tries to have Mopekey kill Humkin by "smothering" him in an effort to keep him from leaving the boat, but she is unable to do it. She then tries to have fate intervene and have Humkin be hit by the milk truck. Humkin revolts and rewrites his fate, escaping into the real world and into the lives of a car salesman Bob (Reg Rogers, PRIMAL FEAR) - a man who has lost his wife and is in danger of losing his job and demo vehicle if he keeps depressing his customers - and his daughter Mimi (Lena Lamer) who has not spoken since her mother's death. Having figuratively killed the "better part" of herself, Marion - along with Mopekey - starts to unravel while Humkin runs free and takes to the streets in search of him. Meanwhile, Humkin connects with Mimi and also instills confidence in Bob, but what will happen when fiction and reality converge...

LOVELY BY SURPRISE does not get off to a good start. The quirkiness seems forced (the soundtrack is especially grating); however, the scenes between Preston and Pendleton are riveting and thought-provoking. Once Humkin has escaped Marion's book and interacts with the real world, the scenes with Bob and his daughter also get interesting - frankly, the whole second half of the film is much more interesting - although the whole weird character bringing joy and whimsy to a grieving family still seems grafted on in order to bring the film to feature-length. Writer/director Kirt Gunn is smart enough not to resort to contrivances to bring everything together neatly, and leaves it to the audience to interpret the ending. The end result is interesting if uneven (a more cerebral approach would have been more interesting).

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 14 June 2007 (USA)

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DVD Review: Eureka VIdeo - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Eureka VIdeo

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:40:45

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.12 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Eureka VIdeo

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with writer/director Kirt Gunn and
• Deleted Scene (4:3; 2:18)
• Trailer (16:9; 1:33)

DVD Release Date: 26 December 2011

Chapters 14



Eureka Video's dual-layer, progressive, anamorphic DVD is encoded in NTSC and coded for all regions. A degree of edge enhancement has not adversely effected the close-ups - which look great - but fine detail, and detail in general in long shots, suffers. Since Eureka are generally known for their attention to transfers, I would assume that the HD master has been so augmented. Although there is no set-up menu, there is also a 2.0 stereo mix in addition to the 5.1 mix and commentary tracks. The audio commentary (with Gunn and, I'm assuming, one of the producers since no one is introduced on the track) is heavier on anecdote than interpretation, and is a little dry. A single deleted scene seems as though it was meant to be a funny surprise ending, but it was wisely left out.

  - Eric Cotenas


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Region 0 - NTSC


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