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Non-Review Review: The Hangover

We caught a late screening of The Hangover at Cineworld last night – which started ten minutes late and had twenty minutes of trailers attachmed (most of which were for movies that didn’t look particularly interesting), which led to us missing our rides home by about five minutes, but that’s a different rant. Still, it was kinda total worth it – like the eponymous hangover itself.

Three Men and a Baby it is not...

Three Men and a Baby it is not...

The movie’s been generating a fair bit of buzz since screenings began, and its been earning steadily at the box office (our screening was fairly packed last night), and – having seen it – I think I can safely say that the comedy of the summer has arrived. It’s brilliantly bizarre and well-constructed, with a clever script following through on the potential of a rather ingenius premise. It creates a Las Vegas that is populated by all manner of eccentric characters (from a sociopathic Korean gangster to a Phil-Collins-loving Mike Tyson), that manages to be both frightening and wonderous at the same time. It is – in many ways – a cinematic tribute to that most odd of cities, a love letter to the place where everything stays (sometimes even grooms on their stag night). As our three heroes voyage on their surreal oddyssey around the city (encountering tigers, babies and  sadistic police officers), the film somehow manages to seem curiously good-natured despite the hell it puts our leads through on their quest to find the lost groom.

The three leads are solid. Bradley Cooper looks set to finally arrive on the mainstream as Phil, the relative straight man of the intrepid trio. Zach Galifianakis stands out as Alan the half-sweet, half-creepy brother-in-law-to-be – he’s the character who tends to provide the really out-of-left field laughs and I think that a new comedic performer is born. Ed Helms gets the most awkward role, saddled between the two other leads and given the closest thing the movie has to true character growth. I wasn’t sure I entirely bought it – it really is hard to develop even one of the leads and keep the madcap humour going – but I’m not sure if that was the performance or the writing. Still, Helms ably provides the cynic and sarcastic component of the trio. All three actors work well together, and have a chemistry which makes the film’s humour work consistently well throught the 100 minute feature.

The film is crass and crude in places – those with good taste and weak stomachs are warned (my girlfriend winced at some of the sequences involving Carlos the baby) – but it is also unapologetically good fun. You may wince in some places, but you’ll laugh out loud in others. Be sure to stick around for one of the funniest credits-sequences I’ve seen in quite some time.

It’s rude, it’s crude, but it is also very funny. This is the best comedy I’ve seen all year and a solid recommendation for anyone looking for a nice evening out at the pictures. Role on the sequel.

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The Hangover is directed by Todd Phillips (Starsky & Hutch, Old School) and stars Bradley Cooper (Wedding Crashers), Ed Helms (The Office) and  Zach Galifianakis (Into the Wild), with supporting performances from Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development, The Larry Saunders Show), Heather Graham (Austin Powers 2, Swingers) and Justin Bartha (National Treasure). It was released worldwide on 8th June 2009.

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5 Responses

  1. I still haven’t watched that movie, looks interesting. Thanks for sharing this, gonna buy some dvd’s soon!

  2. […] Los Vegas… By Darren I saw The Hangover last weekend, and it occurs to me: has there ever been a truly great Las Vegas movie? A movie (or […]

  3. […] must be pretty close to the same thing), long term winners like The Dark Knight or Star Trek or The Hangover emerge. Sure, they don’t necessarily have to blitz on to the screen, but if you praise it, […]

  4. […] I don’t mind having twenty minutes of advertisements before a movie (as happened when I saw The Hangover), but I do mind if these ads are focused on selling my things I don’t really want or care […]

  5. […] poorly written couldn’t completely obscure the charisma of Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber. The Hangover was a great comedy – but I’ll refrain from judging it a ‘classic’ until […]

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