Movie Review: The Hangover (2009)
I was recently invited to fly out to Las Vegas in September to join 20 or so guys for a weekend bachelor party. I declined, recalling that the last time I went out west to Sin City, I “misplaced” five hours of my life (people I was drinking with said I was quite the sight to see at 4:00 AM). But thanks to the writers of The Hangover, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, I am now confident I know what will be transpiring, without having to go. More importantly, I also get to avoid all the guilt.
Not having learned their lessons yet, Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), decide to take their best bud Doug (Justin Bartha) out for a night of debauchery before his wedding. Little do any of them know, what starts out with a toast, ends with them being toast — they get so wasted they lose the groom.
They also steal Mike Tyson’s tiger, borrow a cop car, rip out a tooth with a pair of pliers, do unspeakable things to a Chinese guy (Ken Jeong in a great scene stealer) and befriend a stripper/escort (Heather Graham). Sounds like a great time to me too.
Also spot on in The Hangover is the chemistry the three of these guys have with one another (can’t really count Doug, since he’s missing, duh!). Each of the characters are surprisingly well fleshed out and their personalities compliment the other — Stu is the pushover (his girlfriend incessantly browbeats him), Alan is bizarre (he delivers a wolf pack speech to the guys) and Phil is the cool, asshole of the bunch (he steals his student’s class trip cash for the Vegas outing). Yet, by the end, they’re all better people as they all glean some of their buds traits to make themselves more well rounded.
The downside (yes there is a downside), is a great many of the scenarios are just a bit too farcical. In Vegas, the real and insane possibilities are damn near endless, so why introduce unrealistic setups? If the writers, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, wanted Tyson in the movie, surely they could have imagined a more ingenious way to do so other than the one employed. Hell, I can think of 20 other ways to do it, and I’ve got no imagination to speak of. And was a taser training class for school kids by idiotic cops really necessary? I’m not trying to say there aren’t laughs to be had in these but they’re the kind that leave you uttering, “Boy, that was stupid.”
Nonsensical situations aside, it was still especially refreshing to see that adult-themed (albeit, adults acting like adolescents) movies are still able to succeed in this day and age of political correctness. No padding down for a PG-13 rating here and that is as it should be — as far as I’m concerned a successful guys night out is supposed to be R-rated and in questionable taste!
It’s also a nice change of pace to not have Judd Apatow or one of his crew involved with this feature. As much as I like their work, diversification is a necessity.
No matter what your thoughts are on drugs and out of control behavior, The Hangover is your stance’s poster child — it spells out why you should or should not go to Las Vegas. What is generally agreeable is its got good intentions and more often than not, it is funny. This one is worth the price of admission.