Movie Review – The Hangover

The HangoverThe Hangover is the story of a bucks night gone wrong, and the three men who awake to find their hotel room trashed, themselves in various states of disarray and the groom missing. From there, they are forced to piece together the events of an evening that was so good they should never forget it…except of course they can’t remember a thing.

The movie has been a surprise hit, raking in top dollar at the box office and earning grudging praise from the critics. Grudging, because, in theory it shouldn’t work anywhere near as well as it does. Four male stereotypes (the alpha male, the creepy guy, the guy with the controlling girlfriend and the cautious groom)…in Vegas…booze and drugs and strippers…wild antics and frat boy laughs – we’ve all seen this before, right? One of the people I went to see this with said going in that it looked like an updated version Dude, Where’s My Car, and in honesty the comparison isn’t unfair. It’s a story about hapless, somewhat like-able fuck-ups who have got themselves into some real trouble and can’t remember where they parked the car (among other things).

But this is a vastly superior effort to that – a movie that features a witty, often hilarious script and showcases some brilliant interplay between its relatively unknown but superbly cast leading actors. Rising star Bradley Cooper is great as the group’s cool front man, disenchanted with married life and bored with his job, pushing the action forward as he seeks to relive old glories with a big night on the town. Ed Helms acquits himself well as the pussy whipped Dentist with a point to prove, a role that could easily have fallen into cliché without the right touch – and Zach Galifinakis is a standout as Alan, the groom’s creepy, loner, soon to be brother in law who is looking to engage in some genuine male bonding for perhaps the first time in his life.

The key to this movie is relatability, to both the characters and the situation, and whilst it is fair to say that nobody would have been involved in a night that has gotten quite so out of control, those of us who have woken up in a strange house with a live chicken, covered in bruises and no recollection of the night before probably experienced a pang of recognition at one or two points. Director Todd Phillips (Old School) seems to have a gift for this kind of comedy, once again putting strange characters in extraordinary situations and yet somehow managing to make them seem familiar.

The humor is constant – a machine gun approach to comedy where they fire so many bullets at you that something is bound to hit. Some of the jokes are fairly low brow, as you could expect – but others are surprisingly sophisticated. The awkward speech from Alan on the rooftop before the big night out was hilarious, but it also spoke volumes about the strange phenomenon of male bonding and on reflection gave us an insight into the character’s sad and pretty lonely world. A subtle little hint at character depth, all whilst pushing the plot forward and keeping a smile on everybody’s face – great writing from the suddenly hot team of Jon Lucas & Scott Moore, who whiffed with previous efforts such as Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, but have connected solidly here.

A strong supporting cast keeps things interesting – Heather Graham as the stripper looking to marry up, Ken Jeong as Mr Chow in a fantastic portrayal of camp Vegas gangsterism, Arrested Development’s Jeffrey Tambour as the father of the bride who has obviously had his own share of Vegas experiences, and a great cameo from Mike Tyson as himself, a man who can probably sympathize with some bad decision making on a big night out.

This is a fun, funny movie that ticks along at a fast pace, and sits happily alongside other modern classics of the genre such as Wedding Crashers, Superbad and Knocked Up. Sure, the movie may be shallow, with little in the way of redeeming social merit…but the performances are great and there are plenty of laughs throughout. Well worth seeing.

Rating – 8/10

Random Quote: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…. Except for Herpes. That shit will come back with you.

Random Actor You’ll Recognise From Somewhere Else: Rob Riggle from the Colbert Report does a fine job as a Las Vegas patrolman who’s police car is stolen by the lads.

Previous Movie Review – Sunshine Cleaning

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One Response to “Movie Review – The Hangover”

  1. Elaina Harmon Says:

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