Monday, June 15, 2009

Movie Review: The Hangover

The Hangover is the ultimate bachelor party, wedding jitters, road trip splurge on Las Vegas. This is a guy’s movie that toes the line with raunchy humour from screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and Todd Phillips, director of Old School

You’ve got the comedy and camaraderie of City Slickers shared between Doug, the groom-to-be and his three groomsmen. If you loved it when Ferris took a day off school and howled when the Superbad crew hooked up with the police, then The Hangover’s what you’ve been waiting for. Dirty jokes, Mike Tyson singing, Heather Graham breast-feeding and what can only be described as a hotel room scene from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas are what The Hangover’s all about.

It could very well be the stuff of YouTube with the troupe of merry men hailing from all corners of Hollywood. You’ll recognise Zach Galifianakis as the guy who shared a hot tub with a topless Victoria Silvstedt from Out Cold, Justin Bartha as the cheeky sidekick from National Treasure, Ed Helms who plays Andy from The Office (US) and Bradley Cooper, the guy who had plenty of hands-on experience with Scarlett Johannson in He’s Just Not That Into You.

So Doug’s getting married, and his posse are going to send him off into marriage leaving no stone unturned. At least that was the plan, until they lost him. Now the three amigos are hanging badly, have unknowingly trashed a $4200 a night, hotel villa at Caesar’s Palace and have a tiger in the bathroom… yes, a tiger. It’s not their baby, but they take it anyway. The drunkards slowly retrace their steps across Sin City, unwittingly recovering lost memories from their fuzzy escapade through witnesses and clues. Strippers, chapels, hospitals, casinos… it’s like they’ve been everywhere with Doug. The comedy is raunchy like Old School, as The Hangover takes a page or two from Very Bad Things and Hunter S. Thompson on what not to do in Vegas. This is a misadventure story that will change everything in one night of debauched childishness. The truth is that they just can’t handle Vegas… Nevermind what happens in Vegas, it’s more about what didn’t happen in Vegas!

The performances from the no-big-name posse are genuinely funny and they have the sort of history that guys would only have after actually having such a misadventure. Galifianakis must be Seth Rogen and Jack Black’s lovechild… he’s clueless, “re-tarded” and seemingly innocent. Then you’ve got Ed Helm, who’s best described as a mixture of Daniel Stern of Very Bad Things/City Slickers and Christopher Mintz-Plasse… you know, Fogell/McLovin from Superbad. While Bradley Cooper has a Will Arnett look about him and plays it cool as handsome Phil, the smooth operator of the four ball. Phillips keeps a lid on things so that it all stays within the realm of possibility, while the mystery and wedding deadline loom on the horizon. South Africa’s very own White Wedding has a similar flair with the “what could possibly go wrong?” air of regret hanging over its principal characters. However, The Hangover takes this to the next level with mild action, plenty of Vegas adventure and a clever script that does well to conceal blemishes. There are several plot holes, but the camaraderie and comedy smooth things over with just the right balance of FHM guy humour.

Sorry ladies, but The Hangover is to guys what Sex in the City is to girls… one you’d best skip or use as a credit (two for The Hangover) to appease your significant other. This is definitely not about the wedding… there are tuxedos, wedding cakes and dresses, but this is about one wild, vulgar and offensive night in reverse. Remember Buying the Cow, throw Vegas in there and you’ve got yourself The Hangover, which already has a sequel in the pipeline. Picking up the pieces and discovering wicked, weird and wonderful happenings is all part of the ride. Be sure to catch the end credits as the boys flip through some photos from their crazy bachelors night out… definitely not for the faint-hearted. All in all, it’s a great movie for a boys night out complete with tips on what to do or not to do on your next bachelors. For most guys, it’s a movie that you’ll probably watch again… and again.

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