|"The Hangover" (2009).|
|Heather Graham cheers on our heroes.|
Angelenos Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) and Tracy Garner (Sasha Barrese) are about to get married. Two days before the wedding, the four men in the wedding party - Doug, Doug's two best buddies Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper) and Stu Price (Ed Helms), and Tracy's brother Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis) - hop into Tracy's father's fancy Mercedes convertible for a 24-hour stag party to Las Vegas. At first, everything seems to be going well. Good times, good times.
However, this is a fish-out-of-water tale. Phil, a married high school teacher, has the same maturity level as his students - well, maybe his better students - when he's with his pals. Stu, a dentist, is worried about everything, especially what his controlling fiancé Melissa (Rachael Harris) thinks. Because she disapproves of traditional male bonding rituals, Stu has to lie to her about the stag trip, telling her that they are going on a wine tasting tour in Napa Valley. Regardless, he intends on eventually marrying her, against the advice and wishes of his friends.
|Heather Graham adds a bright light to "The Hangover."|
Every slacker comedy like this needs a big, fat, slobby guy who just does whatever he wants without regard to what others think. Galifianakis fulfills that role admirably. He may not be particularly funny in a classic sense, but he has that gross-out factor that keeps you from noticing how stupid the plot is becoming. He is more a personality than a comic, and in that role he is absolutely perfect.
None of "The Hangover" makes any sense, but it is not supposed to. These films work by smashing expectations of how people should act in certain situations, and smashing our expectations of what situations a normal group of people might find themselves in. Take a well-dressed man who eats like a pig in elegant surroundings - there's your humor. Charles Laughton was doing this in 1935, it is nothing new, except perhaps to today's audiences. One of the movie posters basically makes Galifianakis look like an actual caveman - that's where "The Hangover" is going. He's crude and rude and doesn't care what the prudes think, hahahahahahaha.
"The Hangover" is full of humor that is one step above fart jokes, cloaked by high fashion and pricey digs. Put a bunch of guys in a deserted mansion the morning after a party, add one chicken walking across the marble floor - instant comedy. Hahahahahaha. Something was done to someone's face to make them look bizarre - laugh-out-loud funny. Hahahahaha. A guy lost his tooth in a drunken stupor - wait, I can't breathe I'm laughing so hard, stop, stop! Basically, the formula is, put a bunch of normal guys with a few cozy eccentricities of their own into abnormal situations, and wait for the laughs. It's hilarious! Well, as long as you don't think about it very much. "The Hangover" is almost a spin on "Survivor," with people doing bizarre things in an artificial world, but without the corny host or beautiful scenery (aside from Heather Graham).
|Zach Galifianakis basically steals "The Hangover" just by being Zach Galifianakis.|
Mike Tyson shows up unexpectedly and steals his few scenes in the movie. Tyson fits in with all the weirdness. Naturally, Mike is just loveable down deep despite the gruesome tattoo on his face and intimidating physique. Do you think he is like this in real life? Who knows, maybe he is, I wouldn't doubt it in an instant. You have to hand it to the guy, he has kept the Mike Tyson train rolling for decades now despite prison, the end of his boxing career, and all sorts of other issues (um... tigers). For someone who hasn't had a serious fight in 20 years, Mike Tyson knows how to keep his name in the public eye, and that is an amazing achievement. I'm a big fan, incidentally, I am not being cheeky here (ok, that was bad, sorry Mike).
"The Hangover" was a huge hit that made superstars of its players and which spawned a franchise that may not yet be finished. A fun film to watch with friends, "The Hangover" will make you look hip and current watching it with your friends while you think about what you have to do the next day. Been there, done that.