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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

OMG: penis onscreen!

Here we go again. There’s a penis onscreen — in a still image! — during the end credits of The Hangover, and people are freaking out. Sez Bilge Ebiri at New York mag’s blog Vulture (you might want to skip the big blockquote if you don’t want even minor spoilers for the movie):

So, we saw The Hangover yesterday. The Hangover, in case you haven’t heard, is a movie rated R “for pervasive language, sexual content including nudity, and some drug material.” All of this was in fine evidence in the film we saw; this movie is definitely a “hard R,” as they like to say. But then the film’s end credits rolled and we saw something that to our naïve eyes looked somewhat harder, and made us wonder whether the ever-vigilant MPAA might have turned their screener copy off before the end credits. As you might expect, SPOILERS abound.

The film ends with the main characters discovering a camera that contains photographs of their disastrous guys’ night out, allowing us to finally see actual photographic evidence of all the crazy shit that we’ve been hearing about them having done for the previous hour and a half. As the end credits roll, we see the photographs. Most of it is the usual raunchy stuff: Strippers, roulette tables, Ed Helms with his mouth covered in blood, etc.

However, there are also several explicit photographs of Zach Galifianakis receiving a full-on blow job from a middle-age woman. Like with close-ups and everything! It’s kinda nasty, actually. We’re pretty sure we didn’t dream this — though, admittedly, we were laughing a bit too hard to be thinking clearly. And we’re pretty sure that’s not the sort of stuff the MPAA looks fondly upon, even when it’s being thrust at them by a big fat movie studio with lots of money.

No, Ebiri did not dream this: it’s really there in the film. I was at that same screening he was at, and I did indeed hear gasps from the press audience (which was, as always, comprised mostly of men). I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Bilge laughing — I know him, and I know his voice — and I’m pretty sure I do know who it was who gasped loudest, and I’m pretty sure it was a Big Name whom I later overheard telling someone else this is the funniest movie of the year.

It isn’t the funniest movie of the year. But what do I know? I’m just a girl. All the things the guys found so shocking and hilarious — like a guy getting a blowjob — I didn’t. (But you’ll get my full review soon.) I’m used to seeing, as these guys in the press crowd appeared not to have been, men getting blowjobs on screen. It’s true that that usually means some woman’s head bobbing up and down in some guy’s lap, without any visible penis at all, but we’re talking degrees of difference.

Watch how everyone freaks out over a not-at-all-similar oral sex scene in the upcoming Away We Go, which takes places entirely under blankets with only some nude feet for us to gasp at. But it’s a woman receiving the oral pleasure there, from a man: there’s nothing at all subversive or shocking about movies depiciting it the other way around, as The Hangover does.

And before anyone asks: No, there are no shaved pussies in The Hangover. But here’s one for ya now:

(Oh, and Vulture followed up and learned that, “Yes, Those Naughty Photos Will Remain in End Credits of The Hangover.”)

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