THE HANGOVER (Rating: R)
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor
Director: Todd Phillips
OMFG! Can you imagine a scenario where four men go to Las Vegas and commit almost every act of hedonism possible short of those leading to jail and/or death? Apparently, the writers of The Hangover have, and bring it to you in all its glory. This eye-popping, gut busting film allows you to vicariously experience what most of us would never have the balls to do ourselves, or at least admit to have tried.
The premise of the movie is simple enough: Two days before his wedding, Doug and his three buddies drive to Vegas for a blow-out night they’ll never forget. But when the three groomsmen wake up the next morning with pounding headaches, they can’t remember a thing.
As they go on a quest to put the pieces of their missing night together, they start to unravel a story of a night perhaps best forgotten, if only to be able look at each other (and their respective p+1s) in the eye again.
This is a hilarious film, which liberally borrows from various men behaving badly movies, to successful effect. You know from the very beginning that the boys will have to drug the “ferocious” tiger in their bathroom once they figure out who it belongs to, but nevertheless jump in surprise at the payoff of that scene as they drive it back home.
The characters are likeable and relatable, even if they are a bit one dimensional. Justin Bartha (of the National Treasure franchise) is Doug, the soon to be groom, in love and ready to commit. Bradley Cooper (He’s Just Not That Into You) plays Phil, the jaded married man with a wife and kid, who remembers his wild days fondly and feels every day he “dies just a little bit.” Ed Helms (“the Office”) is the nerdy Dentist/Doctor, trapped in a toxic relationship obvious to everyone but him, and Zach Gilifianakis (What Happens in Vegas) is the socially-awkward brother in law Alan, whose antics and attempts to bond only escalate the trouble these four get themselves into. Heather Graham, who can’t seem to get past the loveable, happy hooker typecast, is still wonderful to watch as Jade, who helps these four get themselves out of various binds. Even Mike Tyson’s cameo and half-dozen lines are not entirely awful. The only misstep to me is the caricature/stereotype of Mr. Chow played by Ken Jeong (of Knocked Up & Pineapple Express). There were a lot of ways to play that character, and I felt the decision to make him a gender-confused, sexless little Asian guy was more distracting than additive to the comedy.
The spastic comedy has surprises and plot twists which don’t stop for air and leaves you exhausted and gasping for a breath between laughs. There were multiple people having coughing fits in the audience. This comedy is not suited for the sanctimonious or the easily offended. Judge-mental types need to be left at the ticket booth. It’s a given that kids are a no-no. Don’t even think of stretching the rules on this one.
The Hangover is great fun and worth the brownie points to go with your buddies. You could make it a date night, but only if you want to have a conversation that starts: “No honey, my bachelor party wasn’t anything like that…” or risk having your options limited for a future one. Good luck!
This film has been rated R for pervasive language, sexual content including nudity, and some drug material.
Your Daddy Time: Worth it or Wasted? Worth it!!!! 4/5 Stars
The Worth It/Wasted Rating System is for dads who need to know one thing- Is this movie WORTH IT to:
* Pack up the kids, bags, etc and trek to the theater – or
* Find a babysitter so Dad can have a date night – or
* Cash in brownie points with the Mrs. so he can go with his buddies
If it doesn’t fit these simple criteria, the movie gets the WASTED rating, which means – don’t waste the precious time you have, wait for video/cable when you can squeeze it between chores, work and sleep.
Miguel Guadalupe is a Director at Gartner Inc, a technology research company. Miguel (he’s the one in the middle) grew up in New York City and currently resides in New Jersey. A graduate of Wesleyan University, he currently volunteers for various alumni and community organizations, and is the proud father of a two beautiful girls.