Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Hangover


  • Released Internationally on 05/06/09
  • Released in Malta by KRS on 05/07/09

In a nutshell

Like Rachel before him, Doug is getting married. Shortly before the big date, as per tradition, he heads out for a last night of manly fun with his close friends. Things get ever so slightly out of hand.

Who needs stars?

Doug (Justin Bartha – National Treasure) is treated to this most extravagant of nights by his two best friends – Phil and Stu. Bradley Cooper (Wedding Crashers, He’s Just Not That Into You) is Phil – a teacher who’s married, with a son, and who’s dying for a wild night out. Ed Helms more or less reprises his role as Andrew Bernard on TV’s The Office as the straight-laced Stu, who likes to do things by the book, mostly because he’s kept on a very short leash by his domineering girlfriend. The cast of relative unknowns is crowned by a breakthrough performance from comedian Zach Galifianakis (Into The Wild, What Happens in Vegas), who steals the show as Alan – the weird, inappropriate and withdrawn brother of the bride. A self-confessed loser, he tags along with the only friends he knows, and is a joy to watch. Making a bit of a comeback into mainstream is Heather Graham (Boogie Nights, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) doing her usual portrayal of a dumb blonde, as ‘Jade’ the stripper with a heart of gold.

A night to remember?

After bonding on the road to Vegas, the guys check-in, toast the wild night ahead, and the rest is history. One of the greatest strengths of this wonderful ride is the way the writers and director have structured it to keep us interested. The actual events of the wild night are never shown, except in CCTV footage, wedding photos, and on the faces of its scarred victims.

The morning after the night before

A very early scene allows us to glimpse just how bad things are going to get, before we jump back to the arrival in Vegas. After their toast to get the night going, we jump forward to the titular hangover. The three friends wake up in their luxury suite to find teeth missing, abandoned babies crying, miscellaneous wild cats in the bathroom, general chaos and evidence of wild partying, but no groom.

Where’s the groom?

As breakfast starts to slowly cure their numbing headaches, amusement gives way to panic as the three start to realise just how much they got up to last night. What follows is a hectic forty-eight hour race to somehow locate their friend and right the wrongs they don’t even recall doing. Police cars, random acts of aggression by thugs, hospital bracelets, wedding souvenirs and a surprise hotel visit by Mike Tyson help to slowly unravel the itinerary, whilst keeping the audience guessing as to the groom’s fate.

Nearly all fun and games

Only a few things jar in this impressively consistent comedy. Without any real bad guy, the script conjures up an Asian gangster, but although starting hilariously the subplot fizzles out as the character becomes stereotypical and a bit overdone. The film is only slightly too long, but at least all of the antics on screen are heading towards the films’ necessary conclusion, rather than thrown in for their own hilarity’s sake. Any feelings of disappointment one may harbour during the film’s predictable ending are thrown out the window during the wonderful end credits, which complete the film cleverly and end it on a very high note.

In the end

Director Todd Philips (Road Trip, Old School, as well as a contribution to Borat) and writers Scott Moore and Jon Lucas (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) have sneaked past the effects-laden blockbusters of the summer to deliver a very unique and very entertaining comedy. Amidst the array of recent ‘bro-mantic comedies’, this one stands out thanks to its script, performances and overall sense of craziness. It’s boisterous, irreverent and yet surprisingly coherent fun, and possibly the best guy movie of the decade so far.



http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/thehangover/ (High-res QuickTime)

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