The Hangover: Extreme Edition (Warner Bros., 2010)
No, you didn’t fall asleep for ten years — Warner Bros. really is double-dipping with The Hangover, a movie that only came out a year ago, and one that’s been available on DVD and Blu-ray for months. Why? Only the studio’s accountants know for sure. But hey, we’re still talking about one of the funniest comedies of the last decade, right? Let’s take a look inside and see what makes this so “extreme.”
Synopsis: A blowout Las Vegas bachelor party turns into a race against time when three hung-over groomsmen awaken after a night of drunken debauchery to find that the groom has gone missing, and attempt to get him to the alter in time for his wedding. In 48 hours, Doug is scheduled to walk down the aisle, effectively ending his reign as a rowdy bachelor. Realizing that this is their last blowout with their best friend, Doug’s groomsmen organize a Sin City bachelor bash he’ll never forget.
The next morning, the groomsmen come to in their Caesar’s Palace suite to find a tiger in the bathroom and a six-month-old baby tucked away in the closet. Unfortunately, Doug is nowhere to be found. With no memory of the previous night’s transgressions and precious little time to spare, the trio sets out in a hazy attempt to retrace their steps and discover exactly where things went wrong.
Will they find Doug in time to get him to the wedding back in Los Angeles, or will his bride experience the sharp sting of disappointment when she walks down the aisle to discover that her future husband is nowhere to be found? Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Heather Graham star in a rambunctious comedy from Old School director Todd Phillips.
Video: The Hangover looks surprisingly good in hi-def — you don’t expect to care one way or the other about the visual upgrade in a title like this, but the movie’s Vegas backdrop affords the opportunity for plenty of shots that take advantage of the picture, both via the blinding blues of the desert and the inky blacks of the Strip at night. It’s nothing that you’ll pull out as a demo for your last-gen friends, but if you want to own the movie, this is the version to get.
Audio: You can choose between Dolby TrueHD 5.1 or Dolby Digital 5.1; either way, The Hangover‘s soundtrack isn’t something you’re really going to notice either way. This isn’t a knock on the soundtrack itself — it’s well-balanced between music, dialogue, and sound effects — but it just isn’t the type of movie that’s made to put your audio system to the test. Basically, the only way you’re going to notice the soundtrack in a movie like this is if there’s a problem, so The Hangover‘s aural invisibility is a good thing.
Special Features: The Extreme Edition packs in all the special features from the earlier Blu-ray release, including an unrated version of the film and a commentary track (presented via picture-in-picture, allowing you to watch Galifianakis, Helms, Cooper, and Phillips sit in a screening room while they chat); there’s a totally inessential “cursing mash-up” that compiles the movie’s swear-y bits; you get a standalone version of Mike Tyson’s “In the Air Tonight” cover, and more, including the ability to use BD-Live to access a shifting roster of features that don’t really add much to the movie. Disappointingly, the only other added content comes in the form of a 28-page photo album offering “candid shots” from the Helms character’s drunken wedding, a soundtrack sampler, and a discount voucher for a ticket to the upcoming Due Date.
That’s it. Really. Why is this being released now, especially given that The Hangover 2 is coming out in a year or so? Is Warners going to triple-dip us later? Don’t be surprised if they do — and if you already own The Hangover, don’t waste your time with the Extreme Edition.
Bottom Line: It’s a very funny film, and one well worth owning, but of all the inexplicable reissues I’ve seen lately, this one has to rank near the top of the list. If I happened to be shopping for a copy of The Hangover, would I buy this one? Sure, for the right price, but it doesn’t really offer anything you’re going to miss if you stick with the plain old non-extreme edition, and the timing is really pretty bizarre. Is this really the best the studio could come up with for Due Date promotional tie-ins? Yikes.
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