The Hangover (2009)

Three men and a baby wearing sunglasses."What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Except herpes, that shit'll come back with you"

To celebrate his upcoming marriage, Doug (Justin Bartha) is taken to Las Vegas to have his bachelor party, taken by his best friends Stu (Ed Helms) and Phil (Bradley Cooper), along with his future brother-in-law, Alan (Zach Galifianakis). The next morning, Alan, Phil and Stu wake up with the mother of all hangovers to find their hotel room completely trashed, a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, Doug is missing and they do not remember a single thing about the night before.

This film is not a character study, it's a comedy film, so some leeway has to be given due to there being little to none character development. Despite the absent development, the characters are a likable bunch that are the kind of people who you love to be in the company of. Alan can seem to be a bit more of a comedic caricature as opposed to an actual character, but that doesn't really matter as he's pretty much the scene stealer throughout the film, giving off hilarious lines and genuine laughs, and he manages to be quite the lovable oddity, thanks to Galifianakis giving a performance which gives a sense of adorableness to the character.

Phil is crude and not the most likable, and of the three leads, makes the least impression, but manages to be a likable enough character. Stu is the shy one who's trapped in a relationship with the most unlikable character, the domineering type of person who makes sure everything is her way. He's quite a sweet character who isn't brave enough to end it with the woman who cheated on him, and Ed Helms does well in these innocent moments, but it's the moments where Stu cuts loose where Helms truly shines, even if it's just for a scene of shouting, he does brilliantly when he's no longer shy and standing up for himself.

The friends all work well with one another, sharing great chemistry., with even Justin Barthas few scenes with the gang being done well. When Bartha's not there, it doesn't feel like a part of the groug is missing as Doug is the kind of character who's absence doesn't adversely affect the group dynamic, but when he is there, he fits so effortlessly like an additional piece of the puzzle you did not know was missing.

Nothing more natural looking than fat Jesus carrying a baby

It's not just the gang who do great in this film. Jeffrey Tambor cameo's for a few scenes, but delivers a great line that'll stick in your mind. Mike Tyson gives a great cameo appearance that delivers a few laughs and proves "he's still got it". Ken Jeong manages to be both intimidating and utterly funny as Chow, a character not handled with racial sensitivity but he's so fun that you don't care.

The film has a lot of quotable lines and scenes that will stick in your mind. The laughs really come from the characters making their way through the aftermath of the night and figuring out what actually happened, which is good as it's much funnier than if we saw the characters actually do these stupid things. The humor can be pretty crude, but it doesn't really matter when the film is this fun and such an entertaining ride.

But the film wasn't perfect, as the plot managed to lose steam once Chow got his proper introduction, and pretty much plodded along for the rest of the way. Plus, it was lazy for them to figure out the location of what they're looking for due to a random line said by a throwaway character.

Despite its problems, The Hangover is the best comedy film of 2009.


Matt Stewart said…
Good review Rodders, I can't say there's any way i'll watch this film though, just not my type!
Good review. I dig this movie: I'm no snob, and I can tell when it's OK to just have fun with a movie and when the thing just sucks. So I liked The Hangover, for it's clever script and casting.