Review: ‘The Hangover’

Bachelor Party meets Dude, Where’s My Car (and about as entertaining as the two of them averaged together.)

A few days before Doug (Justin Bartha) is getting married, his friends Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper), and his soon-to-be brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis) take him to Las Vegas for one last bachelor blowout. The next morning, the aftermath sets in as Stu, Phil, and Alan all try to piece together what happened the night before. Worse of all, the groom is no where to be found.

Taking a bunch of misfit man-children and walking them through a journey of discovery to fill in the missing blanks of the previous evening could go any number of directions, but what sets the film apart is its attention to detail. The plot and cast are adequate, but the actual genius consists of a digital camera slide show that you only wish your relatives would show you at Thanksgiving. The best news of all is that it’s “Rated R for pervasive language, sexual content including nudity, and some drug material,” which means there’s plenty to still watch that you’re not going to see in the trailers.

The plot is fueled by the most unlikely guys to save the day. Schoolteacher Phil isn’t a nice guy and is pretty full of himself. Dentist Stu is every bit the cowardly lion. And Alan is the last loser anyone would really think to spend quality time with. The one guy that seemed fairly decent and likable is the one who’s missing; none of the rest of them are likable enough to really care what happens to them, yet their the groom’s only chance to get back to his wedding on time. These are the heroes?

As truly screwed as the group appears to be following the onset of the dreaded “morning after,” the realism comes through as each of these guys manages to step up in spite of themselves. It’s a long way to come considering where they begin, and the only thing that’s really endearing about them is the fact that the audience has to suffer along with them to find out what happened. Does that mean we can expect a sequel in the near future? If not, may I be eaten by Mike Tyson’s tiger.

(a three skull recommendation out of four)

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