Thursday, May 21, 2009

"It's Funny because he's fat!" A Review of "The Hangover"

Picture this; you've gone to Las Vegas with a small group of friends for your buddy's bachelor party. When you wake up the next morning to find your hotel suite thrashed, a chicken on the bar, a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, your soon-to-be-wed friend missing, and you have absolutely no memory of what happened. This is the premise of the new film, “The Hangover”.

Doug (Justin Bartha: “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”) is getting married in two days, so he is off to Vegas for one last night of freedom with his friends, Stu (Ed Helms: “The Daily Show”, “The Office”) and Phil (Bradley Cooper: “Yes Man”), and his fiance's pudgy maladjusted brother, Alan (Zach Galifianakis: “Tru Calling”). Things start off well enough with a Jagermeister toast, but when they all wake in the morning Doug's friends find Doug missing, and themselves faced with trying to piece together their lost night, find their missing buddy, and getting him to his wedding on time.

I went into this film expecting either a bromedy , or perhaps a really dark comedy like “Very Bad Things”, but it is neither of those. If I were to compare this movie to something else, it would have to be a cross between “Vegas Vacation” and “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle”. The guys are led from one location to the next as they trace their steps, running into a number of interesting characters, including a sadistic cop (Rob Riggle), an escort (Heather Graham), a pissed off boxer (Mike Tyson, as himself), a wedding chapel proprietor (Bryan Callen), and a flamboyant Chinese mobster (Ken Jeong).

Physical and visual humour are combined to great effect. The cast has great chemistry with each other, and the film frequently walks a fine line between barely believable and the utterly absurd. It never quite broke my suspension of disbelief regardless of the unbelievability of any particular situation, and this is a diret result of everyone involved with the film really making everything work.

This film is very coarse and very funny, frequently going out of its way to try and shock you with its humour, making it very much an adult oriented film. Foul language, sexual content, drugs, drinking, violence, unpleasant nudity, and Mike Tyson singing make this a movie that you do not want to take the kids to; in fact you may not want to take your wife/girlfriend either, as this is a movie that is definitely aimed at guys.

If you enjoy guy-oriented comedies like “I Love You, Man”, and you enjoy gross-out humour, then I cannot recommend this film enough. If you are of the more sensitive sort that doesn't find a baby being hit with a car door to be particularly funny, then you might want to go check out “The Proposal” instead. “The Hangover” demonstrates why what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas in theaters nationwide starting June 5th.

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