Hangover, The (2009)

May 25, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

This time around, what happens in Vegas is shared with practically everybody and their moms, with most echoing back with waves of laughter. What can I say? This comedy caught fire with its raunchy, absurd, oddly entertaining style and washes it down with a spiked shot of Jager. Todd Phillips directs the film with all the right moves, and the cast is amazing and all in tune with one other.  Just like a much needed good night of drinking, the Hangover is totally worth it.

Director Phillips paces the film very well, as it moves at a comfortable pace where the humor can breath and be completely enjoyed. The movie can also be very bold with its humor, as certain scenes in the film will surprise and shock. It’s one of those film where truly anything can, and most likely will, happen. Phillips uses Vegas to his advantage, dressing it in pop music, capturing the neon beauty, and oddities of sin city. The script is genuinely hilarious, mixing gross-out comedy, with cleverness, and quirky bits. There are also very many memorable scenes, where one may think “I totally want to do that.” Ex: the Caesar’s palace rooftop toast–an ideal place for pre-game drinking.

Bradley Cooper, as Phil, is the alpha-dog of the pack, as he is the ex-ladies man toppled by the mundane life of marriage. Cooper plays the ringleader well, as he is the party-igniter. Ed Helms, as Stu plays the pussy-whipped geek dentist, and he nails the role. He is wrapped around the finger of his girlfriend and we can’t help but laugh at his cautionary attitude, which is very relative to those that know the type (or are the type),  as Stu keeps getting kicked around. The MVP of the Wolf Pack is Zach Galifianakis playing Alan. Alan is so awkward, and so oblivious to his awkwardness, that we can’t help but laugh. Galifiankais, a cult comedian before this flick, plays the role straight; therefore, improving the effect. He’s like that awkward kid that ate his boogers and nobody played with, and then you’re forced to hangout with him. You laugh at him for being the way he is, but sooner or later you find that he’s a nice guy after all. Ken Jeong is also thrown in the mix, making for a very funny villain, sometimes almost stealing scenes from the the big 3.

The Hangover is a great, stupid comedy that is completely re-watchable. Many people everywhere may even ritualistically watch it before a Vegas trip to get themselves hyped up. Besides being a fantastic comedy, it also genuinely captures men on the last hurrahs of their lives before the monotony of middle-age and beyond consumes them. There will inevitably be sequels to this film, and copycats, but no matter how bad those might be, we’ll always have the birth of the Wolf Pack to fall back on.

Potential Drawbacks:

Lets face it, Todd Phillips is a road-trip movie kind of guy, and that’s all in good fun, especially if you’re good at it, but some may find it dull. The Hangover doesn’t really have a plot that’s new at all. In addition, it doesn’t get as crazy as you think it might.

We all know that comedies are hard to do because everybody has a different sense of humor. If you don’t enjoy raunchy comedy, then you should skip this film. The other downfall of this film is the hype it gets. “Best Comedy Ever.” Probably not, although I think it’s pretty damned funny. Brush off the hype and make up your own mind.

Film Recommendations:

Old School
Due Date
Road Trip



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