7
Jun
2009
Review: The Hangover
The Hangover
Sam
No one will confuse the new Todd Phillips movie, The Hangover, for high art. The man who directed Old School stuck to what he knew funny frat humor. The premise of the movie is that four buddies go to Las Vegas for an awesome bachelor party and that's what they get. Except when they wake up they can't remember a thing, and they can't find the groom-to-be named Doug (Justin Bartha). So it's up to his friends Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and his future brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifinakis).

So the plot isn't that deep, but it doesn't need to be. The plot is perfect for comedy in that they have to retread their night and uncover the crazy shit they did the night before. They find out they stole a tiger, Stu got married to a hooker (Heather Graham) (oh yeah Stu has a "only in the movies" bitchy girlfriend at home), and loads of other wacky stuff.

While the main characters of the story fall into pretty standard archetypes (the uptight dentist who is his girlfriend's whipping boy, the cocky jerk, the crazy guy) they all work. The character that probably made the film was Galifinakis' Alan character who is just fucking nuts and an implied child predator. The part was clearly written for Galifinakis and anyone who is familiar with his stand-up act knows that he always seems to have the persona of someone who always seems not quite there. In fact this quality of Galifinakis makes him probably the most brilliant comedy force in the movie. It's clear that Phillips gave his actors some leeway when it came to improvisation. Alan gives a speech on the roof of the hotel that is clearly improvised (and funny).

Ed Helms also does a great job as Stu, the dentist. Helms seems to be bringing a more vulgar and less socially challenged version of his character Andy Bernard from The Office. This is a welcome addition to the film. Bradley Cooper's role I felt could have just as easily been played by Vince Vaughn and played to more laughs but it seems this is who they had in mind. He was chosen likely because he is great at playing an asshole (Wedding Crashers). Here though he is an asshole, who's also a friend. There's also some pretty decent cameos in the film like Mike Tyson which many people have seen in the trailer. There are also some less publicized ones like The Daily Show's Rob Riggle, UCB's Matt Walsh, Mike Epps, and an Apatow regular Ken
Jeong. They all are pretty successful in their short bits in the film.

These types of movies are not about how they end. The ending to this movie is perfectly predictable and how the character's relationships change is also incredibly predictable. But that's not the point. The fun of these movies is the ride you go on. My expectations going into to this movie were somewhere in the middle. I thoroughly enjoyed Old School but I was still wary. At the end of the day this movie provided a lot of laughs and provided a good time. It's the type of movie that's more fun to watch with a couple of buddies. So if you're looking for a good time at the movies you should check out The Hangover.

B+
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