Four guys head to Vegas for a bachelor party. We have the groom, Doug, played by Justin Bartha, his two best friends, Phil, played by Bradley Cooper and Stu, played by Ed Helms. Then we have Doug’s sloppy, slow, soon to be brother in-law Alan played by Zach Galifiankis. Then we cut to the morning after as the fellas begin to regain consciousness, half naked, missing a tooth, a belly button pierced, with a chicken, a tiger and a baby. Oh, and missing one groom. The remaining three with no memory of the evening spend the next two days driving in a police car (another mystery) searching for answers piecing together the night to hopefully find the groom before his wedding.
I can’t express how great this concept is. I love the premise!!! Working in reverse, we as an audience keep finding out the answers along with the characters as to why something happened. As a ‘Lost’ fan, this was quite fulfilling; continually receiving answers rather than asking questions. A lot of credit is in order to the Director, Todd Phillips and the writers, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. The pacing kept the story moving, never letting a joke linger too long. The look of the film was gorgeous contrasting the beauty of the night in Vegas to the “hangover” it can be during the day in the dessert. A joke or element was constantly being delivered then cleverly resolved or left behind before the joke got old or redundant. The film kept the audience wanting more, never tiring of what ever might be thrown in front of them next.
The actors were perfectly cast. Bradley Cooper is on the verge of superstardom and was excellent as the jerk school teacher and good-looking leader of the group. What made him work even more is that he was not invincible to the hardships that the group received. He had his share of brutal punishment, which made him all the more enjoyable. Ed Helms as a dentist who is whipped by his overly angry and controlling girlfriend is absolutely superb. Zach Galifianakis did the impossible by stealing the show from a perfectly performed cast with his “to stupid to insult” personality. He has sincerity with his dumbness and an endearing quality of wanting to be accepted, specifically by Cooper’s character that he constantly emulates.
Be sure to stick around for the ending credits because here is what gives this film the hard R revealing photo shots of what actually happened throughout the night. This was such a satisfying and fulfilling comedy, which is a rarity in most films I come across today. Sure there is some unrealism in certain scenarios and some jokes might seem too silly or sophomoric at times but the people working in this film sell it well. I believe this movie will be a long-lasting “classic”, enduring the test of time with the current generation for if nothing else than it’s quote-ability factor. THE HANGOVER is laugh out loud, uproariously funny.