With “The Hangover Part II” now in theaters, I thought it would be as good a time as ever to revisit some slightly old news from the series’ director, Todd Phillips. In an interview with Elvis Mitchell of Movieline, he had this to say about the unrated edition of the original film:
“Warner Bros., they’ll make your movie; your movie does well, and they want to create an unrated version, which is entirely against DGA rules because it’s not your cut. And they can’t call it the ‘Director’s Cut’ — they’ll call it ‘Unrated’ or some ridiculous term. Really all it is, is about seven minutes of footage that you cut out of the movie for a reason.”
I certainly loved hearing someone in the biz back up my opinions as stated in Random Factoid #11:
“I hate watching unrated cuts of movies. I always want to see the theatrical cut because after seeing ‘Bruno,’ I found out that anything can get an R-rating. The director could include practically whatever he wanted, but there is a reason that he did not include it in the version that the masses go see. So I figure that the rated version, while tamer, is probably what the director wanted you to see.”
And when I watched the unrated cut of “Date Night” last August, as reported in Random Factoid #386, I felt much of what Phillips described:
“I have a feeling that the word ’3D’ is headed the way of the word ‘unrated.’ About a decade ago, ‘unrated’ was something fairly unique. Now it has become a marketing gimmick to make a little extra profit off some unsuspecting consumers. See the correlation?
Why did I decided to give this extended edition, basically a tamer way of saying unrated, a whirl? The theatrical cut of ‘Date Night’ was so short that I wanted to see more. And more I got. Not sure if it was worth the 13 minutes of my sleep, but I still enjoyed some of the extra bits.”
His cameo in "The Hangover."
There’s a rhyme and reason for what directors do. Pacing and timing is incredibly important, lessons I’ve learned from acting on stage, watching the play I wrote get directed, and from seeing plenty of movies where the two concepts are handled terribly wrong. Especially in comedy, where timing is everything, the director has to establish the rhythm of the movie.
The material for unrated cuts belong in deleted scenes; if this were so, the viewer could still appreciate the humor without disrupting the structure of the film itself. As much as a director may like something, it sometimes doesn’t work in the grand scheme of things. I had to learn this lesson in the production of my play as several of my favorite dialogue snippets got axed. But you do it because you care about how the work functions as a whole, not in one special moment, and Phillips seems to care about preserving the integrity of the whole. Warner Bros. should respect the wishes of someone in the business who actually has such interests in mind.