Why was the Australian cut of The Hangover censored?

It seems that a particularly raunchy image from The Hangover’s end credit sequence has been censored in Australia, despite the same image being screened in American cinemas.

I waited a full week after the film’s release to discuss this issue, which has been bothering me since I saw it (or rather, didn’t see it), last week.

Mild spoilers for The Hangover follow:

At the end of Todd Phillips‘ hit film, the main characters find a digital camera which has captured some particularly incriminating images from their forgotten Vegas bucks’ night. They agree to look at the photos, which are screened during the film’s end credits.

Two pictures show Zach Galifianakis’ character Alan receiving, ahem, oral pleasure from a middle-aged lady in an elevator. Suffice to say, a prosthetic penis was required for the brief sequence.

End of spoilers.

The NY Mag’s Vulture blog was amazed/delighted to see the images in an early screening of the film, which is rated ‘R’ in America “for pervasive language, sexual content including nudity, and some drug material.” Normally, simulated sex (particularly when you see actual body parts) leads to an ‘NC-17’ rating.

Vulture contacted Warner Bros to discover whether or not the image would be cut from the film when released state-wide. The studio responded by saying “there is only one version of the film.”

Of course, as Australian viewers realised this past week, that is not the case.

In Australia, The Hangover is rated ‘MA’ for “strong sexual references, coarse language and nudity”. The American ‘R’ rating is basically the same as an Australian ‘MA’. So why did the yanks get the raunchy shot and not us?

Putting my usually wasted journalism degree to good use, I contacted the Office of Film and Literature Classification to find out whether or not they asked for the image to be blurred, or whether the studio provided them with an already-blurred cut. I have also contacted Roadshow Films, who are distributing the picture in Australia.

Keep your eye on the Quickflix Blog for the results of this incredibly important news story.

W00t! The mystery has been solved! Click here for the answers!

Discuss: Would your viewing experience of The Hangover been enhanced by seeing that censored shot?

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