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<I>Sweetest</I> Is a Sweeter Deal With Extras

5 Jul, 2002 By: Fred Topel

Many comedies come out on DVD in both the theatrical cut and a new, unrated cut, but sometimes it's hard to tell what's different about the new version. That's why The Sweetest Thing director Roger Kumble front-loaded his unrated version with all the extra, more risque footage so everyone will know the difference when both versions street Aug. 20 (prebook July 23), with the DVD priced at $27.96. The VHS version is priced for rental.

“When the [studio] said, ‘Do you want to make two versions of the DVD?' I said, ‘I hate when they just throw in sh*t and that's the unrated version,” Kumble said. “I really don't want to cheat. I hate that. I threw in about seven minutes of stuff, and I basically put it at the front of the movie. That way, when people immediately start watching it, they know it's different. There's no nudity. It's not a nudity thing.”

The film is about two “players” (Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate) who share an adventure in pursuing a man (Thomas Jane) when they decide to settle for monogamy. In addition to more obscene gags in their adventure, the new version also contains a musical number to which test audiences objected, but contained enough raunchy lyrics to warrant inclusion.

“They broke into a song and dance, which we went back and forth on whether or not to keep it in the movie,” Kumble said. “Sometimes I think audiences have trouble when you go into a musical genre. It was like our one Jim Brooks ‘I'll Do Anything' moment. We had the song and dance, and then the men in the audience wanted to kill me. It's a three-minute Busby Berkeley-type number.”

Kumble also wanted to break ground in DVD special features by showing before and after examples of scenes that he reshot. These are not alternate versions of the same scenes, but rather completely different scenes written after test audience reactions. “It's like, this is how I tested the movie a few months ago, and this is what came out after, and you'll see both sides of it.”

There also are a slew of deleted scenes. Kumble kept the film edited down to 80 minutes to preserve a fast pace of rapid-fire comedy.

“I have ADD (attention deficit disorder),” Kumble said. “I get really bored in movies. When I looked at a cut of the film, I said I just wanted the film to fly. It's like a roller coaster ride. We are just here for laughs, so let's get on and hit them with 80 minutes of really good laughs and get out. There's a lot of stuff that hit the floor that I just thought didn't really help the pacing. It's a thin plot, this movie. I mean, who is kidding whom? I just wanted to hit it with the best jokes we possibly could.”

Both rated and unrated versions also include two commentaries: one cast commentary with Diaz, Applegate and Jane; the other, a technical commentary with Kumble, the director of photography and the producers.

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