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Review: The Hangover

The Hangover
8 10

PLOT: It was a dream bachelor party for Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug. When the boys take the soon to be married Doug out to Vegas, they find that what happens in Vegas sometimes lingers a bit. After a wild night of hard partying, they realize much to their horror, that Doug is missing, and so is their memory of all that happened before. The three men retrace their steps searching for clues and finding a lot of really upset people that didn’t find their drunken antics all that funny. Along the way, a whole lot of trouble comes their way that is much worse then they had imagined… seriously, you don’t want to piss off Mike Tyson and a tiger.

REVIEW: THE HANGOVER could be a horror film. The idea of waking up with absolutely no memory of what or where you’ve been is terrifying. You wake and find everything in disarray around you and even a tiger in the bathroom. And worst of all, your best friend has disappeared. And while this could’ve been akin to HOSTEL in Las Vegas, director Todd Phillips drenches his characters in this sort of, dark desperation which works well to create a seriously funny movie. But what is most surprising about it, is just how good it looks. Early on we see Vegas as a bright and beautiful city, full of lights and glamour and the possibility of dollar signs and hot chicks. But as the mystery unfolds, and yes I did say mystery, it turns into a hot and unbearable place that is full of misery. All the promise of good things to come soon looks bright and miserable. Sort of like a drinking binge that is all fun and games, until you wake up in the morning with a massive headache and the urge to puck. This is that movie, in a good way. And it has enough of an edge to be more than just a cheap comedy that wants to be offensive but fails miserably. This is a damn good looking flick that is offensive in a really good way.

As good as the film comes across, it is also a movie that I’ve seen numerous times before, on some level, whether it be BACHELOR PARTY or even VERY BAD THINGS. In the wrong hands it easily might have been just anther dumb comedy. But thankfully, there is enough of a dark wit about the situation, and an honest to goodness likeability factor with the protagonists, that it is very easy to share their pain. The three main players are also a huge factor as to why this works. I’ve always liked Bradley Cooper, but he succeeds in mucking up his image even more than usual and makes for a relatable a-hole. Ed Helms plays the wussified boyfriend to a T and has a nice little character arc going on, which is helped greatly by the lovely Heather Graham as a stripper who prefers to be called an escort. Now both of these guys are great, but the scene-stealer here is Zach Galifianakis. His “loser” character is utterly fascinating, and you believe every second of it. Whether it is the most uncomfortable man hug ever, or his bizarre fascination with The Jonas Brothers, Zach plays this character with sheer fearlessness. I loved this guy.

Now the plot has been done before as I mentioned. You have a handful of guys taking their buddy out for a bachelor party (this one obviously in Vegas). They get wasted and really bad things happen. Once the boys wake up from a night of drunken debauchery, they find themselves in their hotel room which has been completely trashed. Everything is an utter mess, but the biggest problem is that they can’t find the husband to be anywhere and they have no memory of the previous night at all. So the hunt is on, and with each sequence, they come closer and closer to finding out what happened. Yes it is absolutely extreme. Their misadventures are hilarious as they have to retrace their steps and come into some close calls with guys they seemed to have really pissed off. One of the them happens to be Mike Tyson… and this involves a tiger. I had no idea that Mike Tyson could be as funny as he is here. Not that this is a stretch considering he plays himself much like Bob Barker in HAPPY GILMORE, but he has fun with it, including his entertaining bit courtesy of Phil Collins, “In The Air Tonight”.

I laughed a lot with THE HANGOVER. I really like my comedies dark, and as far as this one goes, it is pretty damn murky. But I did have a couple of beefs with the film in terms of the final act. I appreciated the humor so much in the first two that I sort of felt it played it too safe as the conflicts were resolved. As much as I liked these guys, I would have loved to see a little bit of the black humor continue up until the end. It seemed much too polite, and a tad bit predictable. And I would’ve liked to have seen the husband to be get to have a little more fun. It seems like Justin Bartha was given the shaft when it came to really fleshing his character out. And yes he is missing for much of the film, but I liked his performance and it would have been fun to see him have a little bit more to do. But even with these minor complaints, The Hangover is easily one of the funniest films so far this year.

My rating 8/10 -- JimmyO





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