The Hangover (2009) / Comedy-Thriller
MPAA Rated: R for pervasive language, sexual content including nudity, and some drug material
Running time: 100 min.
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham, Sasha Barrese, Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong, Rachael Harris, Mike Tyson, Mike Epps, Jernard Burks, Rob Riggle
Cameo: Todd Phillips
Director: Todd Phillips
Screenplay: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
A fairly simple setup -- a Las Vegas bachelor party gone haywire -- leads to one of the funnier comedies of 2009, thank in large part to excellent casting and enough solid comedic inventiveness to keep the lulls at bay. As I often write, black comedy is a difficult genre to pull off, but thanks to Todd Phillips comfort with outlandish material working from a clever script by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, it all comes together to form a funny and satisfying movie that belongs next to Apatow's finest in the burgeoning "bromance" genre.
We start the film off with the aftermath of what appears to be a night of such utter debauchery, none of the revelers can even remember what happened. Their hotel room is trashed, there's a chicken in the room and a tiger in the bathroom, a tooth is missing, not to mention the disappearance of the groom-to-be, Doug. Now it's up to the three remaining friends, Doug's crackpot future brother-in-law Alan, along with his best friends Phil and Stu, to piece together the events of the evening in the hope that they can reconstruct what happened to Doug before he misses his wedding.
Unlike other dark comedies of late, here is a film that actually likes its characters, and we like them along with the filmmakers, as we root them on through the most absurd of circumstances. Galifianakis steals most scenes with a nearly perfect portrayal of a man whose "id" so very much dominates whatever ego he might have left. Like the films by the aforementioned Apatow, it's a "guy movie," which means that they men all have nuanced personalities, while the women display only one defined trait to push the story along for the men, whether it be sexiness or shrewishness.
©2009 Vince Leo