21
May
09

Movie Review: The Hangover

hangover

 

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, especially if you can’t remember it.

Starring Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justen Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor, Heather Graham, and Mike Tyson. Directed by Todd Phillips

The story begins with a phone call. Phil (Cooper), one of the groomsmen, calling Tracy (Sasha Barrese), the bride, and telling her that they may not be able to make the wedding on time. Cue flashback…

Doug (Bartha) lives in L.A. and is marrying Tracy, a beautiful woman from a well-to-do family. One-by-one we are introduced to his friends Phil, a schoolteacher, and Stu (Helms), a passive dentist with a mean girlfriend as well as brother/bother-in-law Allen (Galifianakis), a somewhat imbecilic loner. These men are heading for the time of their lives in Vegas. What could go wrong?

Note to characters: see also “Very Bad Things,” “What Happens in Vegas,” etc.

Phil, Stu, and Allen wake up to find their Villa Room trashed. A chair has smoke coming from it, there are stacks of beer cans and bottles, Stu has a tooth missing, a chicken roams around freely, and there’s a tiger in the bathroom. Matter are further complicated when they find a baby outside their door, they can’t remember what happened the night before, and the groom, Doug, is missing. Slowly piecing events together they find that Stu got married to a stripper named Jade (Graham) and the baby is her kid Tyler, Phil had to go to the hospital, Allen had mixed Rufelin in their drinks (which explains their memory loss), the tiger belongs to Mike Tyson, they stole a cop car and are being chased by an effeminate gambler/gangster named Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong). What the hell happened?

Usually I don’t go and see the “Vegas” sub-genre. As the above noted films “Very Bad Things,” and “What Happens in Vegas…” you know what? I really don’t care if anything happens in Vegas, but I got to see this as a preview screening and really enjoyed it.

So how does this movie distinguish itself from the others? First off: the “mystery” aspect. Instead of the groom commandeering what everyone does he’s taken out of the equation. Instead of flashbacks to what happened the night before none of the groomsmen (or groom) remembers anything. Secondly none of the leads are A-list actors which, in my opinion, would have destroyed the “reality” of how the movie felt. Third, the scene where the groomsmen meet Mike Tyson and he’s listening to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” You’ll love it. Fourth, the comedy isn’t mean-spirited, cynical, or mind-numbingly stupid as a lot of comedies are these days. Yes, there is some gross-out humor but it’s used sparingly.

On another plus note: the cinematography. I’m reminded of how “Tropic Thunder” looked better than most comedies do, or should, look. Same thing applies here. Lawrence Sher did really nice time-lapse photography as will as a good deal of well-composed stuff. A little bit of art thrown into a comedy…

Watch for the other “Daily Show” castmember Rob Riggle as a cop.

Not laugh-a-minute, but the comedy is pretty even throughout. It’s better than amusing and in the words of my brother, I wouldn’t mind seeing it again or owning it on DVD.

Final note: the WB has already requested a sequel (don’t know how). The movie’s release date is June 5, 2009.

My grade: B+

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1 Response to “Movie Review: The Hangover”


  1. 1 S. David Brown
    May 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Awesome. As usual Chas, a great review. You cut through the BS and give me the info I want to know. I am adding this to my list. – ODB

    Like


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