The Hangover delivers head-pounding hilarity

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Starring Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms. Rated 18A. Opens Friday, June 5, at the Cinemark Tinseltown

Plenty of about-to-be-marrieds wake up after stag parties bleary from the previous night’s events. But few are as confused as The Hangover’s quartet of hapless Angelenos, who find the sun streaming in on a Las Vegas hotel suite filled with empty bottles, squawking chickens, a crying baby, and a dangerous zoo animal. Also, Bachelor Number One is nowhere to be seen.


Watch the trailer for The Hangover.

That leaves the alpha male (Yes Man’s Bradley Cooper) to call the waiting bride and explain that her fiancé can’t come to the phone right now. The rest of the very funny film, told in roundabout fashion, is devoted to the remaining trio’s increasingly arduous steps to recover their friend, and their memories, in time for the wedding.

What they find, given different sequencing and ominous music, could play like a dark thriller. But this is really a vehicle for the comic timing of The Daily Show’s Ed Helms, as a terminally p-whipped dentist, and Zach Galifianakis, as the bride’s socially deranged brother, uninvited but along for the ride.

The briskly paced movie is much more satisfyingly original than you might expect, coming from Todd Phillips, director of Old School and the Starsky & Hutch movie, and Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who wrote Four Christmases and The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. They have an unfortunate inclination toward sadism (spare me the Taser scene, bro). And were the filmmakers really giving Heather Graham a break by casting her as a dumb-bunny stripper? In any case, I’m glad that Helms’s improvised piano song, commenting on the action just when you need a break from it, did not stay in Vegas.

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Zachery Q.
Well-written review. In addition, “The Hangover” is a worthy entrant into the “guy movie” hall of fame. It’s got laughs, drugs, tomfoolery, bodily harm, strippers, and a Mike Tyson cameo. The movie is about a trip to Las Vegas for a bachelor party, and the events of which are recounted as the characters sober up, and look into payday loans to cover the money they spent. “The Hangover” is a worthy entrant into the “guy movie” hall of fame. It’s got laughs, drugs, tomfoolery, bodily harm, strippers, and a Mike Tyson cameo. If you were going down the list of things needed for a comedy to take flight you’d find them all here; the three main players pass the ball, the chemistry works, and the film never devolves into that most debilitating trope of the romantic comedy - a serious third act. If you’re a fellow, or the person who monitors your fellow’s entertainment intake I highly recommend giving this a watch. It’s nicely done. Films detailing "lost weekends" spent in Sin City are becoming a genre unto themselves, as the town is noted for a touch of Bacchanalian excess, with tradition extending before Hunter Thompsons' landmark novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Still, there ought to be plenty of payday cash for the producers if receipts match "The Hangover" reviews.
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Rating: +5
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