Review: The Hangover (2009)

The Hangover - The Wolfpack in elevator“The Hangover” is the kind of brilliant comedy that will have you gasping, laughing so hard you’ll have tears in your eyes and rocking back in your chair from laughter. In other words, it’s flat out hilarious and it definitely needs to be on your very short list of films you must see this summer.

The-Hangover the wolfpack on Las Vegas roofTwo days before Doug (Justin Bartha, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”) gets married, he sets out with his best friends Phil (Bradley Cooper, “He’s Just Not That Into You”) and Stu (Ed Helms, “The Office”), along with his soon to be brother-in-law, Andy (Zach Galifianakis) to the only place worthy of hosting a bachelor party — Las Vegas.

Initially, each character seems like the stock characters you’d find in a standard comedy where you can predict how they’ll act in any given scenario. Phil is the married man regretting every day since he said, “I do.” The high-strung, henpecked Stu has to constantly check in with his overbearing girlfriend and Andy is the clueless doofus, but Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis make sure their characters are hardly predictable.the_hangover_ed helms as stu

After a night of debauchery, the boys wake up to find their hotel suite trashed and Doug missing without a clue as to what happened.

Rather than take the straightforward approach of just detailing a night in Vegas, “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore take a more creative spin having the guys try to retrace their steps.the_hangover_phil making the calls

It adds a sense of mystery to the comedy, leading to some startling revelations as they piece together the events of the bachelor party and try to find Doug before his wedding.

Director Todd Phillips captures the dynamic of his earlier hits “Road Trip” and “Old School,” with unpredictable twists and mishaps happening to a group of wild and crazy guys. the_hangover ed helms, zach galifianakis, mike tyson and bradley cooper

Whether it’s a tiger in the bathroom, a kindly stripper/escort (Heather Graham), a couple of vindictive cops or Mike Tyson singing along to Phil Collins, there’s no telling what will happen next and typically how the guys resolve the situation is wilder than you could possibly imagine.

The film truly earns its R rating in just about every conceivable way, but outside of some vomiting — which makes perfect sense given the context of the movie, it’s never the gross out humor that’s more disgusting than funny so it should prove to be a big hit with female audiences as well.the hangover heather graham and ed helms

Fortunately, the trailers only hint at the laughs with the full viewing experience so you definitely don’t see all the funny parts from the commercials.

This year, we’ve already been treated to the excellent “I Love You Man” and this marks yet another entry in what’s shaping up to be a pretty good year for buddy comedies, the likes of which haven’t been seen since 2005 with “Wedding Crashers” and “The 40-Year-Old-Virgin.”the hangover the wolfpack

This is one hangover that’s all about a good time with no messy headache the next morning.

Rating: 10 out of 10

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