Review: “The Hangover”

June 6, 2009 at 11:58 am Leave a comment

As the first big adult comedy of the summer season, Todd Phillips’ The Hangover, delivers on laughs, but not much else.  Then again, it’s a comedy, so that’s really all you need, right?  The Hangover follows four friends during one night in Vegas.  Doug (Justin Bartha) is getting married, so he and buddies Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms), along with soon-to-be brother-in-law Allen (Zach Galifiniakis), travel to Las Vegas for one crazy night a few days before the wedding.  And of course, they have just a little too much fun.  Phil, Stu, and Allen wake up the next day to find their hotel room trashed, a tiger in their bathroom, and Doug missing.

Over the next day and a half, the three travel around Vegas, trying to piece together what the hell they did last night that would cause them to lose the groom.  However, the mystery of the bachelor party isn’t the focus, it’s the shenanigans they get into while searching for those clues.  Along the way they meet a varied cast of characters, including a stripper with a heart of gold (Heather Graham), Chinese gang boss Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), and Mike Tyson (as himself).

Just as any good adult (ie male)-oriented comedy, the gags are pretty funny.  Three guys getting tangled in each other while handcuffed, a naked man leaping from the trunk of a car and beating everyone up, and a grown man being verbally emasculated by his girlfriend is sure to incite a few laughs.  Zach Galifiniakis is the standout here, playing a socially awkward guy who struggles to fit in.  It’s not really what he does that’s funny, but the things he says, which unfortunately won’t be very funny if I just typed them here, so you’ll have to see the movie the understand what I mean.

While most might be quick to compare this movie to the Judd Apatow line of adult comedies, the key difference here is that this movie just plays everything up for laughs.  Most likely, by the end of the summer, this movie will have been forgotten.  What I think is great about most of the Apatow Productions flicks is that they do have a bit of a heart to them.  The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall are gems in the genre, providing laughs and lessons for the characters to learn.  In The Hangover, Todd Phillips and writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore don’t delve any deeper than they have to.  But, with a great cast like the one that’s assembled, they really don’t have a reason to delve deeper.

The Hangover is silly, sometimes crude, and pretty funny.  It also sets the bar for the rest of the summer comedies (looking forward to Judd Apatow’s Funny People myself) and provides a nice respite from the effects-laden big budget movies that dominate the season.



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