The Hangover is the first great comedy of 2009, it only took us 6 months to get there. While the premise is quite simple and the characters are at times stereotypical, its the on-screen chemistry and mystery of the events that transpired the night before, that keeps the viewer thoroughly engaged. The audience is learning right alongside the characters about what happened and trying to figure out where their friend Doug (Justin Bartha) might be. It’s quite an interactive experience that leaves you guessing what can possibly happen next, while having you rolling in laughter at the same time.
The main chunk of this film is told through the three friends Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) who wake up with an incredible hangover and no recollection of the previous nights bachelor party. They quickly discover their friend Doug is missing who is supposed to get married in just 24 hours. The laughs are pretty much constant throughout this film. We see the boys get ready to go to vegas, bits of the road trip there, and the events leading up to their first alcoholic shot of the night. After that it’s the next morning, so we never actually get to see what transpired during the party, just bits and pieces of it as it unfolds throughout the film.
There are so many great bits with a tiger, nudity, stun guns, and yes even Mike Tyson. Heather Graham has a role as well, playing a stripper that one of the guy’s ends up marrying in their drunken haze. This film really puts the saying of “what happens in vegas, stays in vegas” to use, as they all have significant others back home who they must make sure don’t find out about the wild shenanigans. Ed Helm’s character really steals some great scenes in this film as he is in a power struggle with his wife who wants him to grow up and mature out of childish partying with the boys. Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of Phil almost seems like Cooper is just playing himself. He’s cool, confident, and the defacto leader of the group.
But the real star of this film is without a doubt Zach Galifianakis. His portrayal of the man-boy Alan really brings this film to the next level. Alan is the bride’s brother who goes on the trip with the friends as a bonding experience. He isn’t very good at making friends and has quite a flew eccentric nuances. Galifianakis does such a believable job playing this ditzy nerd that you almost forget at one point he was seen as the Dane Cook/Jon Stewart type next big thing of his generation.
The Hangover, is a must see for any fan of comedy and is a bright spot in a truly abysmal summer movie season. This film will exceed any expectation you could possibly have of it as it is an half and a half laugh fest. The best part of this film is director Todd Phillips unapologetic delivery of humor. You won’t see any sentimental moments and nothing about this film delves in the romantic comedy genre like Apatow is known to. It’s pretty much adult male rated R humor from beginning to end. Even the credits don’t slow things down as some of the funniest moments of the film happen during them. If this review should accomplish one thing, it’s to make you immediately go see this movie as I can promise you that you will not be disappointed.