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Thou Shalt Laugh

4 Dec, 2007 By: Billy Gil

David Wain and Ken Marino

Fans of David Wain and his band of absurdist comedian friends will have a new item to add to their collection when City Lights Home Entertainment releases on DVD The Ten Jan. 15, 2008, (prebook Dec. 18) at $26.98.

The Ten tells 10 overlapping stories based on each of the Ten Commandments. If it were a Robert Altman film, we might get 10 interlocking stories that reveal shocking secrets about complex characters, exuding satirical social commentary. With Wain at the helm, we get Jesus on a Segway, neighbors fighting over who has the most CAT-scan machines and Winona Ryder falling in love with a puppet.

“I have no pretensions that this movie will change the world; my only expectation is that it will change the way everyone on this planet thinks and behaves,” Wain says in the DVD press release.

But are religious folk as keen to his irreverence as he is?

“I think anyone who's actually seen the film will see that it's not trying to make any point or take down religion or anything,” Wain explained. “It's really just these 10 stories that are pretty silly, and using the Ten Commandments as a jumping off point or backbone.”

With 10 stories to tell and a mammoth cast (Jessica Alba, Adam Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Rob Corddry, Famke Janssen, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Gretchen Mol, Oliver Platt, Paul Rudd, Liev Schreiber, Justin Theroux and the aforementioned Ryder), there's plenty of room for the film to stretch on DVD.

Special features include alternate takes, deleted scenes, an interview at the South By Southwest festival, the first episode of Wain's Web series “Wainy Days” (available free at mydamnchannel.com, explicit content), a making-of featurette, and DVD-ROM links to ringtones and wallpaper. Plus, there's an interesting commentary track.

“The commentary is Paul Rudd, Ken Marino (who also stars in and co-wrote the film) and myself, along with my parents to give kind of an opposing viewpoint; they liked the film, but not all of it,” Wain said.

The DVD also has a long version of the vignette featuring Kenney-Silver as a mom who hires an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator (Platt) to be a father figure to her children.

Additionally, Wain has good news for fans of “The State,” the 1990s sketch-comedy series that featured Wain, Marino, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and about half of the cast of “Reno 911!” Work on the complete-series set is finished, and it will include unaired sketches, promotional material, behind-the-scenes footage and commentary on every episode. A release date has not yet been set.

“It's the most amazing DVD set you can imagine,” Wain said.

In other things Wain, “Stella” — his comedy troupe with Ian Black and Showalter that featured for one season in 2005 on a Comedy Central show of the same name (on DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment) — is on hold while the performers work on other projects. Black directed the film Wedding Daze, streeting on DVD from MGM and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Jan. 15, 2008, (prebook Dec. 19) at $26.98.

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