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DVD Review: The Hangover

From strippers to tigers and kidnappers to Mike Tyson,The Hangover celebrates one of the most raucous nights never remembered. With non-stop, fast-paced jokes, major male bonding and an over-the-top, visual punch line, the movie was a surprise hit last summer that struck box-office gold and took Hollywood by storm. The film’s premise is simple enough: Four guys hit Vegas for a bachelor party, but when they wake up the next morning, they face a destroyed hotel room and a missing groom, but have no memory of their big night. Soon, they embark on a hilarious, high-speed hunt for their friend, piecing together clues to track him down and get him home in time to get married.

The Hangover DVD, which arrived this week, relives the party — and then some. The double-disc edition features an unrated cut of the film and a handful of extras, including a theatrical cut with commentary from director Todd Phillips and stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis offering behind-the-scenes scoop. While The Hangover hooked audiences with its fast-paced jokes and riotous antics, the DVD underscores how much of the film’s magic is in the details. The director and cast commentary reveals how some of the finer details came to be. Galifianakis, who played Alan, the off-kilter brother of the bride, came up with the idea to wear white jeans. Not surprisingly, the sexually explicit gestures with the movie’s baby were also Galifianakis’s idea. They only stayed in the film, though, with approval from the infants’ parents (multiple babies played little “Carlos,” as Alan called him).

Along with the tidbits that Phillips and the actors offer during their free-form discussion, they and other cast and crew members discuss the making of the film through an interactive “map of destruction” on the DVD. Each landmark on the map represents one of the major locations in the film, from the lobby at Caesars palace to the police station, and has a video segment with backstories about each venue. Caesars, according to the DVD interviews, was apparently one of the most complicated shoot locations. The only thing that made it easier is that hotel guests didn’t recognize the actors and interrupt their work.

Other DVD segments include a song from the film’s outrageous wedding band (The Dan Band), extra photos from the original, final montage and a gag reel. The Hangover’s gags aren’t funnier than the film, but instead feature the actors trying to hold it together during the shoots. As a compendium, the double-disc package is chock full of antics for fans of the film, as well for virgins of the fictional Vegas manhunt.

At one point in his commentary, Galifianakis notes that his grandmother is hoping for a copy of The Hangover DVD for Christmas. The new discs (and particularly, the new additions to the film’s final montage) are not the best pick for every grandma. They are, however, a great way to rehash and extend one of the year’s funniest movies.

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