The Hangover (2009)

the hangover IMDb

You know you’ve been to Vegas one too many times when you’re able to guess the ending of this movie based on your knowledge of how Las Vegas hotels are constructed. Yeah, I was that person, though it didn’t stop me from loving this movie. It’s just a perfect, stupidly smart comedy that’s a lot of fun. And it’s unapologetically rated R, so yay for that!

The brilliance of The Hangover is that even at its most ridiculous, it still seems plausible. Anyone who has ever been to Las Vegas can vouch for the fact that the city is bonkers. This is a place where you can walk down the street with an open container of alcohol and nobody is going to stop you. Cocktail waitresses hand out (practically) free drinks like candy. I once saw a girl attempt to urinate in a dirty trashcan just outside a casino entrance because she didn’t think she could make it to a bathroom (there was one literally just inside the casino doors). It’s a wonderful town!

The Hangover perfectly packs all the insanity of Sin City into a neatly written hilarious package. Often when I’m watching comedies there are scenes that feel unnecessary or superfluous to the story, but not here. Every joke is needed. Every bit of slapstick serves the story. I don’t even mind the gratuitous male nudity. This is just a tightly written script that makes good use of its setting, moving the characters around the city and surrounding desert in search of their missing friend.

This film also benefits from a great cast. The three leads– Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis– all owe their careers to this movie. It launched them all into stardom, especially Galifianakis, who has been playing the same character in almost every film since. These three have great chemistry together and are a delight to watch. My only problem with this movie and cast is that it’s almost too good. This movie was so popular that it spawned two sequels– one OK and one completely unnecessary (but more on those later). Of course, it’s unfair to blame the movie for doing its job. I will reserve my contempt for studio executives who endeavor to squeeze all the joy out of great films by making them into unnecessary franchises.

Of course I’d be remiss to not mention the number one reason why The Hangover will always hold a special place in my heart: it was the first movie Ben and I saw together. You’re no doubt scratching your head and thinking, “That’s not very romantic,” but we weren’t dating at the time. We had just been introduced a week or so earlier by my sister, and apparently she and virtually everyone else who knew both Ben and I were conspiring to get us together. Unsurprisingly Ben and I just “happened” to be sat next to each other in the theater, and when I said my goodbyes after the movie Ben looked disappointed that I wouldn’t be coming back to my sister’s friend’s place with the rest of them. Six months later we were dating, and three and a half years later we were married. Whether this is because of The Hangover or in spite of it is up for debate.

So aside from being just plain hysterical, The Hangover always reminds me of my nervous energy sitting next to Ben in that darkened movie theater. Can’t wait to show our kids this movie one day… like when they’re at least 14. I’m not going to be that cool of a parent.

Rating: A

This movie will always have a special place for me. It was the first movie Sally and I saw together. It is also hilarious.

I saw this movie twice in the theatres, the first time was in Sydney and again in San Diego. My viewing experience was far different both times. When I watched it in San Diego, it was a very real prospect that we could drive to Vegas that night and have a bender just like Bradley Cooper. Of course we didn’t, but that’s what kind of movie this is. It makes you want to go out and party with your friends, and there’s no better place to do that than in Vegas.

The Hangover follows three old friends, Doug (Justin Bartha), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms). Doug is getting married and the three friends are on their way to Vegas for his bachelor party. They are accompanied by Doug’s soon to be Brother-in-law and extreme weirdo, Alan (Zack Galifianakis). The four of them set out in Sin City looking to have the night of their lives. Then things go awry, the group wake up the next morning not remembering a thing about what happened the night before. Doug is missing, and somehow they have picked up a baby. Phil, Stu, and Alan must piece together the previous evening using random clues they still have on them if they have any hope of finding Doug and getting him to his wedding the next day.

This film is hilarious. The chemistry between the cast is fantastic. After the first 30 minutes, the film is carried by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zack Galifianakis. The three work really well together and all get their moment to shine, especially Galifianakis. He is perfect as Doug’s future brother-in-law. He plays the role of nutty loser so well. You know he is causing trouble for these guys, but it is really difficult to dislike him also. It’s a really good performance from Galifianakis.

As I said, this movie is hilarious. It is one of the best comedies of the past decade, and will make you want to go and party in Vegas too.

Rating: A-

2 thoughts on “The Hangover (2009)

  1. Pingback: Top Ten 2014 | From The Abyss to Zoolander

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