|Hangover, The (2009)|
|Theatrical Movie Reviews Theatrical|
|Written by Brittani Simberg|
|Monday, 08 June 2009|
I can’t remember the last time a comedy not starring Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell or Ben Stiller was hyped as much as The Hangover. Why, I wondered, would Warner Bros. spend all this marketing cash on a Vegas buddy movie with no bankable star? Now that I’ve seen the film, I know why. It’s freaking hilarious.
We have all woken up at some point to a throbbing headache and wondered, “Dear God, what did I do last night?” This film is the epic version of that morning. It struck me as I watched, however this is not a novel idea. Where, oh where, had I seen this before? Then it hit me. This was essentially the same storyline as in a famed 2000 Ashton Kutcher/Seann William Scott stoner vehicle I once saw. The Hangover could easily have been titled, “Dude, Where’s My Groom?” Thankfully, however, the basic plot is where the similarities between the two films end.
It is beyond cliché to head to Las Vegas for a night or two of drunken silliness to celebrate a friend’s upcoming nuptials. Instead of detracting from the film, however, the banality of the idea is exactly the point. There is nothing special about the four main characters in the film. They are just regular guys who want to take off, escape their lives for a night and have a good time. Every band of buddies will see themselves in these guys and relate. The characters are not stereotypes but archetypes, each filling roles so many of us encounter in our own groups of friends. Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper) is the alpha, the guy who is slightly cooler than the others, who was probably way cooler in college, but is now just a schoolteacher with a wife and kid. Stu Price (Ed Helms) is the omega, the one whose balls get busted the most, who goes along with whatever the others talk him into and who is dating an overbearing shrew. And Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis) is the goofball you somehow always get stuck with on these things, somebody’s cousin, or in this case, the bride’s brother.
These three actors form a brilliant comedy trio – Ed Helms, who cut his teeth as a correspondent on the Daily Show, could not be more perfect as the whipped, downtrodden one; Bradley Cooper (yes, ladies, he is lovely to look at, both before and after his lip gets busted) solidly holds his own as the sarcastic straight man and Zach Galifianakis defines stealing the show in his genius performance. I guarantee he is, at this moment, getting a call from every director currently casting a comedy in Hollywood.
This film is great fun from beginning to end. Little moments and big throughout (I’ve avoided listing ANY of them in this review because I’m loathe to ruin even a second of this movie for you) are hilarious and it’s the best comedy I’ve seen in a long time. Is The Hangover a perfect film? Probably not. To be perfectly honest, I don’t have a clue. I was too busy laughing to notice.