Thursday, July 12, 2007

Broadway-Themed Bonus Feature Details: The Wedding Singer: and Circuit City Hairspray: Preview DVD

It’s taken me five months, but after a long waiting list at the library, I finally got The Wedding Singer: Totally Awesome Edition on DVD which has, as a bonus feature, “A Backstage Look at The Wedding Singer on Broadway,” identified on the back of the case as a featurette.

I had never seen the original Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore movie when I fell in love with the Broadway show. When I finally saw it afterwards, I was reminded why I didn’t see it originally since watching Adam Sandler makes me want to gouge my eyes out with oven mitts on. However, even I would buy the DVD if there were some primo stuff on the bonus feature.

So, here are the details. The featurette is a 10-minute look at the show featuring interviews with the creative team, Stephen Lynch, and Laura Benanti. Each person gets a chance to talk about their thing, such as set designer Scott Pask describing his rubics cube squares as part of the set design. The footage seems to have been shot largely during the rehearsal period before the first preview out-of-town. There are a few snippets of chorus members getting make-up on, shots of the set, close-ups of costume design drawings, but most of the footage is of the promotional photo shoot for the picture which adorned the poster, including Lynch in the ‘80s wig he wasn’t wearing by the time I saw him in the show.

One really interesting observation made on it is from director John Rando who compares Stephen Lynch’s touring comedy career to the old days when actors refined their craft on the vaudeville circuit, which probably helps explain why Lynch was so amazing.

The second interesting observation is a brief interview with Laura Benanti. After reading about her on Broadway message boards for all these years, I was really surprised to see that she’s not the Loch Ness Monster. Not only is she extremely beautiful and talented, but she seems like, gasp, a really cool person. And I don’t think it was all in the editing.

The only footage from the show ends the featurette, with a one-minute look at “Come Out of the Dumpster,” which seems to be from a rehearsal with audience applause mixed in at the end (since there is no laughter on some of the big laugh lines).

I honestly don’t know if I would buy the DVD just for the featurette. It is always interesting to see people’s vision for a beloved show and to hear them discuss their work, but it is really lacking in meat—show footage. Oddly enough, I think footage from the show would have been their best bet in getting audiences to see it.

I often pop in such things to watch while I’m eating lunch on a Saturday or need some inspiration. My guess is that a year or two from now will tell whether this featurette is enough to get me to buy it when I am either craving the chance to see it again or have no interest.

Remember that this footage is only available on the Totally Awesome Edition, which features a close-up of Sandler and Barrymore against a white backdrop. The earlier edition is readily available, but it is lacking the “Behind the Scenes” look.

It’s of interest to note that in the Hairspray movie preview DVD available for free from Circuit City when you buy any CD or DVD (limited supply of the preview DVD are available), there is a $2 off coupon for several New Line romantic comedies (only good at Circuit City), of which The Wedding Singer: Totally Awesome Edition DVD is listed. The coupon is good through the end of August 2007. This seems like the type of movie that goes on sale, often for under $10.

Also included in the preview DVD is a coupon for $3 off several other New Line movies, including Antonio Banderas in Take the Lead with America’s sweetheart, Laura Benanti. It also indicates that specially-marked packages of the DVD The Last Mimzy have a Hairspray move voucher. I do remember from a preview trailer that The Last Mimzy seemed to me like The Exorcist For Kids. I’m sure we all want to rush out and buy it.

And, if interested—I know it’s been posted elsewhere—the Circuit City preview DVD features the “Ladies’ Choice” music video with Zac Efron and the dance stylings of Nikki Blonksi. It’s presented more as a scene from the movie than a regular music video, which is cool. There’s also a really great preview to the movie featuring interviews with the key creative staff and the main film stars, illustrated with lots and lots of footage from the movie. The packaging says it “INLCUDES OVER 30 MINUTES OF CONTENT!” As the packaging also states, the Behind-the-Scenes footage is 15 minutes (that includes credits), and the music video isn’t even three minutes. The other 12+ minutes of exclamation mark-worthy content is the must-see New Line previews for such high-interest movies as Rush Hour 3, Monster-in-Law, and The Notebook, the commercial for which, FYI, always pushes me near to vomiting. I recommend you skip over that one, too.

For free, though, the DVD is great to have, particularly since I’m already dying to see the movie again. If you don’t get the DVD, I have a feeling the bonus footage and music video will be included as bonus features on the Hairspray DVD, so “please don’t have a cow” if you miss it.

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