Why can’t I be one of those guys who KNOWS
that “The Hangover”
was the funniest movie of the year (like Leon
claims). Oh yeah, it is indeed a funny movie but is it THAT
funny? Apparently lots of folks think so and yet, there aren’t a lot of people putting it in their top ten lists. As dude-targeted comedies go, “The Hangover”
is much, much better than most, but that’s not saying a lot. Maybe I need to go to Vegas with Leon
like he keeps threatening to organize and see what it’s all about, this type of crazed trip to sin city with my most dangerously potted friends. *sigh*
Maybe I’m missing a gene or something because this doesn’t sound like something I’d want to do. To watch, sure, but do...I can only ask, as I have many times before, what the hell is wrong with you guys?
When your buddy is getting married, its the duty of every good friend to show him a truly great bachelor party. Nothing says, let’s have one last rite of insane, borderline-illegal bachelorhood celebration than Vegas, to many, and these are the kind of guys who wouldn’t even consider anything less. Phil
), are the guys who get to take their buddy Doug
) on the trip, forcibly accompanied by Doug
’s soon-to-be brother-in-law, the somewhat mentally challenged Alan
). They upgrade to the best suite in their hotel and begin their night with a shared toast on the roof, friends celebrating the beginning of one of the most important rituals of manhood. And then it is morning. Oh, and what
a morning. Like the title of the film implies, “The Hangover”
doesn’t show us the night in question, just the after effects and the mystery left behind. Every one has blacked out the events that, judging by their trashed hotel room that even the members of Led Zeppelin
would have been shocked at, must have been heroic and legendary. There’s a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet and a groom that is completely missing. And so, the search begins to decode the party by it’s detritus, find Doug
and get him home before his wedding.
falls under the unfortunate category of films that reveal all their funniest moments in the trailer. Which isn’t to say that the rest of the film isn’t good, but it’s never up achieves the gut-busting laughs with those surprises that any one who saw the teaser for the film already had spoiled. I’m looking at you Mike Tyson
. Directors need to cut their own trailers or, at the very least, fire almost everybody currently doing it for them. This sort of thing is as out of hand now as it was in the seventies when the trailers gave away every plot point of the films they were advertising (go check out some of them on your DVDs, you won’t believe it).
This kind of film depends on the strength of the actors and their ability to improv within the roles and have fun doing it. Yes, it’s one of those kind of comedies. Much like his peer Judd Apatow
, director Todd Phillips
knows how to let talented comedians do their thing and not stand too much in the way. Sometimes it works like a charm, like in this film. Other times...well, let's just say "School for Scoundrels"
probably isn't getting a special director's cut on Blu-Ray.
is the slick buddy, the guy who always gets the chicks, knows it, and has coasted through life because of that charm but is going to find himself in a situation that he just can’t talk his way out of. Ed Helms
is the dork, a dentist who has let himself be Alpha mauled by his girlfriend, a super-dominant lady who thinks they’re all in the wine country for the party, a belief that, if shattered, frightens him more than anything else. He’s the guy in every one of these movies that you know is going to eventually find his balls but it’ll be painful watching him squirm until then. Zach Galifianakis
is the spaz, a complete loser devoid of friends because of his odd habits, social retardation and maybe some things even creepier (implied). He’s the failure with a giant heart, or at least some reasonable facsimile: this isn’t an after-school special, he’s sweet but kind of sick at the same time. The interaction between these three is a winning one, which makes me wonder if the groom, who we don’t see much of during the film, is up to being part of that chemistry in the upcoming sequel, where surely one of the other boys gets to be the one on the nuptial hot seat.
is a series of set pieces taking place around the city of Las Vegas and that means lots of supporting characters. A movie like this can live or die by those parts and here it is the really kick-ass stone ground mustard on the sandwich, the essential ingredient that takes what could have been somewhat run of the mill fare and makes it deliciously spicy. Heather Graham
has a nice role as the hooker with the heart of gold, Rob Riggle
and Cleo King
slay as two cops who get to unleash taser vengeance on the boys for stealing their squad car, and, of course, Mike Tyson
playing himself in the no-question funniest moment of the film. The biggest credit though, has to go to Ken Jeong
as a almost-certainly-gay Vegas gangster who the boys find naked in the back of their car. The outtakes on the disk prove beyond a shadow of a doubt how funny this guy is, if you didn’t already know from watching him as Senor Chang
The extra features packaged with the Blu-Ray sound much cooler than they actually are. “More pictures from the missing camera”
picks up where the credits end off but doesn’t actually add much except alternate versions of shots we already saw. The “Map of Destruction”
substitutes for an actual ‘making of’ and does so all-too briefly, not really answering any of the behind-the-scenes questions I'd have been interested in hearing about. There’s the band during the end wedding sequence performing “Fame”
(why would I want to see that when I can watch this version
of “The Final Countdown”
instead for those rare moments I need a ‘terrible band’ fix) and a weird, kind of pointless mash-up video of all the action scenes from the film. The only worthwhile thing, really, is the previously mentioned Ken Jeong
bit with more improved versions of scenes from him that weren’t used. Sure, the film itself is six minutes longer here than the theatrical version, but you’ll be hard pressed to notice where they appear. On an extras level, "The Hangover"
This is a very good comedy stopped short of greatness by the same loose structure that props up most of its humor. There’s a wildness to the film, a sense that anything can and will happen, that keeps you on your edge watching it, wondering what these guys can possibly do to get their groom back in time, but at the same time, it’s hard to really care either. There’s not too much to identify with in their leads, mainly being written as archetypal ‘buddy’ movie characters and rather stiffly defined ones at that. Any emotional moments come off as merely necessary padding to get through for a story based around the comedy sequences. However, those sequences are generally strong and the actors are all talented enough (and clearly having fun) to make you want to go along for the ride anyway, even if you’d never, EVER let them borrow your credit card for the deposit on the room. I may not be laughing out loud, as it were, but I'm definitely chuckling consistently throughout. This is, despite a weak package of extra features, a BUY
Click Here to Buy The Hangover (Unrated Edition) [Blu-ray]