Maybe it was this very movie that inspired me to make last week's Vault Pick be "Very Bad Things". I must have been reflecting back on movies about bachelor parties and that's what came to mind. Probably because I was trying to get myself psyched up for seeing "The Hangover". Or it could have also had something to do with the fact I never had a bachelor party so I found myself living vicariously thru those in the movies. At any rate, the time had finally come to see if this flick could live up to the hype its trailers had generated.
Two days before his wedding, Doug (Justin Bartha) drives to Las Vegas with his best friends Phil and Stu (Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms) and his future brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis) for a last hurrah bachelor party. However, when the three groomsmen wake up the following morning , they can't remember a thing, their $4,000+ a night suite is traashed and the groom is nowhere to be found
With no clue about what happened and the wedding quickly approaching, the trio must attempt to retrace their steps from the night before. It's their only hope to figure out where things went wrong in the hopes of finding Doug. But the more they begin to uncover their bad decisions from the previous night, the more they realize how much trouble they are really in.
The best thing about "The Hangover" is the angle they decide to take with this bachelor party gone awry. Unlike similar movies where they unfold the events of said bachelor party as we watch, this one skips right to the aftermath. The friends have to do their own sort of reverse engineering in their efforts to figure out everything that happened the night before. It was almost as if we were having the same hangover with them. It also provides for more laughs because the surprises seem more genuine.
Galifianakis as Zach may have very well been the secret weapon in this movie. Every group of friends has that one oddball who just doesn't seem to fit in with the rest. Could be his intelligence isn't quite where the others are, maybe his personality is lacking, maybe his sense of style is a little suspect. Well Zach manages to incorporate all of those elements and then some. He is easily the scene stealer here and in some instances, it's just his appearance alone that is able to produce comedy.
I figured when I saw the trailers that there would be some bits that wouldn't be in the movie. Studios have a habit of doing that for some reason. Fortunately, Tyson's cameo is not one of them. Although his rendition of Phil Collins' "In the Air of Tonight" isn't as funny as the extended trailer, he has other parts that are. It was a little bitter sweet watching his performance knowing the tragedy he recently had to endure. Nevertheless, it was nice to see him able to poke fun at himself and doing it fairly well.
This movie poses a question that I had just brought up with friends the other day. Would a successful businessman really marry a hooker? Or in this case, a stripper? Even if it was from a drunken stupor? I personally couldn't see it happening. But what if once out of it, dude realizes that the stripper actually had a pretty amazing personality? Maybe there really are some strippers out there who are genuinely working their way thru college. I'm just sayin'...
Probably the one disappointment was the inclusion of Mike Epps. I hate to say it, but they probably should have cast someone else in his small part. It seems like ages ago when he was able to keep folks in stitches during his "Friday" heyday. Unfortunately, he just hasn't been funny for a while. I don't know if it's been his material or what, but he's definitely fell off. This movie would have been a good start for him to get back on track. Looks like it just wasn't meant to be.
I did a quick run thru of my reviews from this past year to make sure I wasn't missing anything. With the notable exception of "Fanboys" which was obviously geared towards the geek/nerd niche, "The Hangover" was easily the funniest movie to come out this year. It was the first time in a while that I was laughing pretty much all throughout the entire movie. Especially at the end when the friends find a digital camera that caught highlights of the evening they can't remember. This is raunchy humor at its best, guaranteed to provide a natural hangover from the non-stop laughter it provides.
My rating: A