Ever since I first started wasting my life away by sitting in front of the television at the tender age of three, I’ve always been very partial to two specific — but entirely separate — genres: comedies and mysteries. Since the dawn of the Silver Screen itself, filmmakers from all walks of the industry have attempted to merge the comedy and mystery together, although with limited success. Usually, the end-result was just another B-Picture — one that really didn’t rely on its “mystery” element to go anywhere. Take several Bob Hope or Bowery Boys features, for example. While I have an undying admiration for both parties, I have to admit that most of their “comedy/mysteries” were nothing more than “average” screwball flicks laced with a certain amount of predictability when it came to the whole “mystery” part of it all.
Really, it’s not the easiest kind of picture to pull off. Sometimes, somebody gets it right — such as Stanley Donen did with his 1963 classic, Charade — while other filmmakers have had the misfortune of cranking out movies like 1985’s Clue…a film that sends shivers up my spine for all the wrong reasons. Honestly, up until 2009, I thought that the possibility of a successful and truly entertaining comedy/mystery was out of the question. And then I saw The Hangover, the first mainstream American film in over 25 years that successfully combines both the comedy and mystery genres in order to create a truly unique film. In fact, the mystery element in The Hangover is so well-crafted that a lot of its fans don’t even realize that it is a mystery!
The story pits three future groomsmen (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis) waking up one morning in Las Vegas after an evening of drunken debauchery, set to the tune of their groom-to-be’s bachelor party. Unfortunately, the entire night before is a great big blank for all three men. Worse still, the whereabouts of the groom-to-be (Justin Bartha) are unknown. With clues presented to the unwilling sleuths in the form of an abandoned baby, a tiger in the bathroom, a chicken in the living room, and a former stripper (Heather Graham, proving that there life does exist after Austin Powers), our trio of hapless halfwits embark on discovering what happened to the them and to their groom.
Originally issued in both R-Rated and Unrated Editions on DVD and Blu-ray in 2009, Warner Brothers waited almost a full year before unleashing The Hangover: Extreme Edition onto home video. If the phrase “double-dipping” comes to mind over the very phrase “Extreme Edition,” then you’re probably in the right mindset as everybody else that’s taken a peek at this release. For starters, the disc is the same as the previously-released Blu-ray that presents both the rated and unrated versions of the film. The special features are also identical: giving us the picture-in-picture commentary with the film’s stars and director; the gallery of “More Pictures From The Missing Camera;” a “Map of Destruction” chronicling the locations that the movie’s protagonists visited (and damn near decimated in some cases), and so on and so forth.
Well, since the extras on the disc are exactly the same, you can bet your bottom dollar that the the audio and video specs of The Hangover: Extreme Edition are identical, too. And they are. The 50GB Blu-ray disc presents our features in their original 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio and in a 1080p/VC-1 transfer. Audio-wise, we have an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 default track, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio options available in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Optional subtitles are provided in English (SDH), French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
So, in case you’re wondering “What the hell is so ‘Extreme’ about this Extreme Edition, anyhow?” the answer is this: a booklet and a CD. Yup, that’s right: just in case you weren’t content with owning the original Blu-ray of this title, you can now opt to buy it all over again and thrill to the sights of the 28-page “Wedding Album” booklet (which, as you might expect, contains some photos from the film — or, rather, the night nobody can remember that happened in the film). You can also exuberate all of that pent-up joy that you’ve kept hidden from the whole wide world when you listen to the sounds of a 5-track sampler CD (yes, you read that right: a five-track sampler!), which contains a few incidental tracks from the movie (some of which aren’t on the official soundtrack), as well as “Who Let The Dogs Out?” by the Baha Men: the most overplayed song in existence.
Also included with The Hangover: Extreme Edition is an eMovie Cash “coupon” for $7.50 off of one admission to the upcoming theatrical comedy, Due Date, which is from the same director (Todd Phillips) and co-star (Galifianakis).
The bottom line here is that, while The Hangover is an excellent movie all-around, there’s really no need to buy this Extreme Edition if you bought the 2009 HD release — unless you’re absolutely, positively content with spending an additional $36 just to get $7.50 off your admission to Due Date, that is. Or you possess an unquenchable thirst to own a worthless sampler CD and booklet. If you hadn’t already picked up a copy of the movie, though, then you could do a lot worse than this Extreme Edition.
Enjoy. Or don’t. It’s all up to you.