Better Living Through Chemistry

Musical Score By: Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the dark comedy, Better Living Through Chemistry, Sam Rockwell is Doug Varney, a respectable small town pharmacist whose life is quietly predictable until the day he delivers a prescription to Elizabeth Roberts (Olivia Wilde).  A lonely trophy wife, Elizabeth is incredibly attractive and uses her looks, exciting bedroom prowess and the multitude of addictive substances she has at her disposal to take Sam on a foggy ride through euphoria he could never have imagined.

                The musical score of Better Living Through Chemistry was created by Andrew Feltenstein and John Nau, a composing team that met fourteen years ago in a studio in Venice, California.  Hitting it off instantly, they created their own studio and immediately secured commercial work.  Once such project - creating scores for short films and sketches for BudTV - introduced them to Matt Piedmont, an Emmy Award winning writer for Saturday Night Live.  This fortuitous meeting led to a number of composing projects including Casa de Mi Padre, Anchorman 2, Bachelorette, Kids and Money, Spoils of Babylon, The Big Love Christmas Album and more.

                The music of Better Living Through Chemistry begins with the sort of new age jazz sound that one would expect to hear while riding along in an elevator or while on hold waiting to speak to customer service.  Add-ons include hand claps, snaps and random vocalizations.  One track, entitled Karp Has Questions, actually sounds as if the music is being played backwards, signifying a somewhat slowed-down, drug-induced confusion.

                Quite honestly, I can't really say that I hated the soundtrack of Better Living Through Chemistry.  I just really don't have a whole lot of nice things to say about it.  The music didn't really captivate me, but it did get the comedic elements of the film across well.  I simply can't imagine who might want to own a soundtrack featuring jazzy elevator/on hold music, but I'm sure there are folks out there...perhaps folks who own buildings with elevators or companies in which people will spend a great deal of time on hold waiting for customer service.  For them, the Better Living Through Chemistry Soundtrack is perfect, but it's nothing special for your average music aficionado.


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