The first full-length green band trailer for “The Hangover Part II” wasn’t green band enough, at least not in the eyes of the Motion Picture Association of America. Warner Brothers and the MPAA have apparently sent a letter to movie theaters across the country asking that they remove “The Hangover Part II” trailer from copies of the PG-13 Jake Gyllenhaal thriller “Source Code.”
The letter, which was obtained by Slashfilm, reads as follows:
“Warner Bros. and the M.P.A.A. have instructed all theatres to remove The Hangover Part II trailer #2 from Source Code and any other placements. These #2 trailers need to be DELETED FROM YOUR SERVER.” The letter also states the next trailer for “The Hangover Part II” will debut before the R-rated “Scream 4.”
Once the word got out, Warner Brothers issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “In our haste to meet the placement schedule for this trailer, we failed to properly vet the final version with the MPAA. We acted immediately to correct the mistake and removed the trailer from screens.” The online trailer will also reportedly be tweaked.
So it sounds like the MPAA may not have given the trailer the final seal of approval before it started playing before “Source Code.” What made this announcement so surprising was that there had been no controversy surrounding the trailer before its hasty removal. According to Entertainment Weekly, a source told them Warner Brothers hadn’t received a single complaint about it.
Warner Brothers hasn’t specified what exactly in the trailer the MPAA found offensive, but the only part I can think of is the bit at the end when Zach Galifianakis sticks a water bottle in a man’s sarong, the monkey bites it and Galifianakis says, “When a monkey nibbles on a wenis, it’s funny in any language.” Frankly, I don’t see how that’s any worse than sexualized programs like “Jersey Shore” that kids under 17 can see on TV or online whenever they like.
Pulling the “Hangover Part II” trailer isn’t the only recent example of the MPAA getting worked up over nothing. Last weekend, the Weinstein Company released an edited version of “The King’s Speech” to bring the rating down to PG-13. It was Harvey Weinstein’s choice to release an edited cut, but he shouldn’t have had to make that decision to begin with.
The MPAA slapped an R rating on the original cut for one string of expletives that contains a handful of F-bombs, uttered by Colin Firth during an exercise to help King George overcome his stutter. Deadline reported the only difference between the R-rated version and the PG-13 version is that all uses of the word “f–k” have been replaced by the word “s–t.” Everything else about the film is unchanged. Really? What a completely useless reason to give a movie an R-rating and bar a wider audience from seeing a truly beautiful, moving film in theaters.
What kills me is that it only seems to be language and sex that the MPAA has a real problem with. I know they wouldn’t give something with liberal amounts of blood and gore a PG-13, but overall they just don’t seem as phased by it. I have a feeling more kids and young teens would be disturbed by some of the dark, gritty material in the PG-13-rated “The Dark Knight” than a curse word or a penis joke.
Even in one of the trailers for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” dead bodies are clearly visible strewn across the Hogwarts grounds as Harry and Voldemort battle. And those who have read the book know the death scale in the final film is going to be much worse than that brief clip. I’m not saying I think “Harry Potter” should receive an R rating, but it does beg the question, why is the depiction of mass death and destruction OK in a PG-13 movie, but Colin Firth dropping the F-bomb a couple of times is deemed incredibly distasteful?
What do you think? Was the trailer for “The Hangover Part II” really that offensive? Is the PG-13 cut of “The King’s Speech” in better taste? Are PG-13 movies becoming more violent? Sound off in the comments section.
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