The Hangover (2009) – Movie Review

The Hangover movie poster

Written by: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham

My Advice: Matinee.

Doug’s (Bartha) getting married. So there’s only one thing to do: borrow the bride-to-be’s (Sasha Barrese) father’s (Jeffrey Tambor) car (itself) and grab two friends (Cooper and Helms), the future brother-in-law (Galifianakis) and head to Vegas for a night of insane partying. The running gag is that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…and the quartet appear to have taken that to the extreme. Because the next morning Vegas appears to have taken not only their memories of the night previous but also Doug himself. He’s nowhere to be found, and the three “survivors” have to piece together whatever clues they have to figure out just what the hell happened and where they lost Doug.

Yes, that’s right: it’s like Memento as conceived by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I was originally going to say The Brothers Farrelly, but there’s no way in hell they would have been able to pull this off. I’m one of three people on the planet who thought There’s Something About Mary was more disgusting than funny–and because I don’t think disgusting is inherently funny I didn’t dig it. But the main thing about this film is that it’s disgusting and funny. What a concept. It’s more wrong than it is out and out blatant gross out. Oh sure, it has its moments. But the scribes on this are aiming for an audience beyond the frat boy heh-heh mentality. And it’s refreshing.

But it is wrong. And the film lucked out with a great marketing campaign, because its trailer is indicative of what the film was up against. I’m sure the reaction many had was the same as mine: eh, looks like the best bits might be in the trailer. Indeed, it was only after continued buzz built up that I thought, okay, fine, I need to go see this on the big screen now. The payoff of a lot of very funny bits was the result. Would it have suffered on the small screen? Not at all, but sometimes you really do need to go share the experience of laughing in a crowded cinema–and this will do the trick.

The cast, especially the core trio of “survivors,” is excellent. Cooper does extremely well considering he’s up against the character arc of Helms and the…well, the twisted brilliance of Galifianakis. He manages to hold his own, essentially playing straight/sane man against the other two. Helms plays the high strung “doctor” to a tee and Galifianakis is a revelation of wrong. I’m not quite sure how else to describe him, frankly. I just spent two minutes staring at the last sentence. Once you see the film, you will know.

The plot is also engaging enough to where you start to wonder just what the hell happened as well, which helps carry you through any bits where you might be at the limits of what raunch you can take. But it’s not like it’s pushing or even setting fire to the envelope–apart from the baby gag in the trailer–a bit I never thought I’d see–so don’t think you’re going to be offended to your very core or anything. On the other hand, your mom might not dig it. I’m just saying.

If you’re watching your wallet, sure, wait for the DVD. But do see it. Its box office performance is indicative of the fact that people can enjoy smart dumb comedies as well.

By | 2017-09-24T23:01:12+00:00 July 12th, 2009|Reviews|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Jack Deer February 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    This is the first time I have laughed so hard that I had tears in years!! And I did that several times! The theater was packed…and everyone was laughing just as hard as I was. I can’t believe it was so funny. And what I really liked was that the commercials only gave you CLUES but did NOT take anyway from the laughter!!

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