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The Hangover (2009)

June 9, 2009

VERDICT:
7/10 Missing Teeth

Just got back from seeing this with my good buddy Fred, and it was pretty damn funny.

The Hangover is about a group of guys who throw a bachelor party in Vegas for their buddy and wake up the next morning astoundingly hungover with no recollection of what they did the night before and no idea where the groom-to-be is. So begins their two-day search for the groom, the owner of a bengal tiger that’s staying in their bathroom, the parent of an infant they found in their closet, and a slew of other oddities that may or may not occur after a drunken bender in Vegas.

It’s not really consistently funny throughout, I can’t really pick out my favorite scene that stood out among the rest, and the pacing isn’t as crazy as I thought it was going to be, but overall it’s a funny movie with a new twist on a premise that’s been used a million times before.

You don’t ever really see the bachelor party itself, not until a fucking nutso slideshow at the end of the movie, but a big reason this movie is funny is finding out what the hell happened to these guys just as they’re figuring it out themselves. It’s a fun time that you don’t get tired of and it’s probably going to do wonders for Vegas tourism.

The three main characters are great and all have a unique brand of humor to bring to the table. Props to the lead actor, Bradley Cooper, who is slowly rising from obscurity to fame and doing a good job of getting there with his role in The Hangover. But the two reasons this movie is funny more than the writing or the story are Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms.

I’m a huge fan of Galifianakis and he was the reason I was really looking forward to seeing this. He pretty much plays the groom-to-be’s unbelievably strange and possibly brain-damaged brother-in-law who tries to fit in with the rest of the gang by asking if they’re “ready to let the dogs out” and how he wishes he could breast feed. He’s great in this movie, it’s about damn time he started getting recognized, and if you’ve never heard of him before, YouTube him and you’ll quickly understand why he’s getting all the buzz from this movie.

But the big surprise for me was Ed Helms. He starts out playing a whipped and glorified version of Andy Bernard from The Office, but after the bachelor party he starts completely breaking down and gives some of the best lines in the movie. Wasn’t expecting Helms to be so funny, but he and Galifianakis have roles that seem like they were written with them in mind and they do freaking hilarious things with the material at hand.

Unfortunately, a big drawback to The Hangover is this guy, Ken Jeong; an unfunny bastard who plays an annoying Asian gangster whose jokes never land like they’re supposed to. I don’t know why he’s always getting cast in bit roles in practically every comedy that’s come out over the past four years. He’s never funny, he’s always on screen too long, and this movie is no exception. Honestly, what’s the big appeal to Ken Jeong? Am I missing something here? Stupid casting choice.

Anyway, now that I’ve got that out of my system, if The Hangover seems like your kind of thing, it will at least get you laughing. It’s not as endearing as I Love You, Man and the characters could have used some more depth, but these are small complaints and it’ll probably stand as one of the better comedies of 2009, right behind Bruno (hopefully).

The Hangover pretty much spells out what kind of movie it is in its title, and it’s a funny movie that Fred and I would be happy to revisit.

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