The Hangover Reviewby Jerry Saravia (faustus_08520 AT yahoo DOT com)
April 17th, 2011
THE HANGOVER (2009)
Reviewed by Jerry Saravia
RATING: Three stars (B)
I had a good time watching "The Hangover." It is often howlingly funny and filled to the brim with rapid-fire gags that range from slapsticky to inexplicable bad taste. But, by the end of it, though I was still laughing, I noticed how much of it is laughing at the expense of people who are not easy to like and still reeling over the bad taste in my mouth.
"The Hangover" has a classic situation that is pure gold for any comedy. A groom-to-be, Doug (Justin Batha) is taken for a wild weekend in Las Vegas for an epic bachelor party with his three pals, Phil, a schoolteacher (Bradley Cooper) who is indifferent to marriage; a, dare I say, pussywhipped dentist, Stu (Ed Helms), and the truly offputting and dangerously unpredictable nature of Doug's future brother-in-law (Zach Galifianakis). They stay at the expensive Caesars Palace and the next day, uh, oh, cue the Murphy's Law Syndrome of blackouts in comedies that can, in the right hands, be a state of utter nirvana or a buzzkill. Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong in Sin City. And everything goes wrong. More wrong than you know. Truly, irrevocably, umistakably wrong. So wrong that you ask yourself, how will these men ever right their wrongs? And that is all there is to "The Hangover" - a series of violent pratfalls and misunderstandings that lead to complete chaos.
Directed by Todd Phillips and written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (with Phillips scoring an uncredited rewrite), "The Hangover" has a barrel of laughs, everything from Mike Tyson's home surveillance footage to the Asian mob that includes a naked Ken Jeong running around with a crowbar, to Zach Galifianakis's oddball moments of flipping the bird or making strangely somber toasts, to a hungry tiger on the loose in a Vegas suite, to date-rape drugs, Heather Graham frolicking about from a wedding chapel ceremony, and so much more. For true belly laughs, you can't go wrong with "The Hangover." I laughed many times out loud, and sometimes snickered with my eyes wide shut from moments that would make anyone snicker. That may be the problem with "The Hangover overall - too many naughty moments to snicker at.
The acting is expertly done (Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis are more of a hoot than anyone else in the movie) and the situations these men find themselves in are as bizarre and insane as you can imagine. But the movie left me cold and reeling from all the naughtiness, feeling a little too unclean. Compare this to the chaotic but not as high- pitched, "Road Trip" (also directed by Todd Phillips) and you'll find that the audience was allowed to catch its breath amidst all the chaotic situations in that movie. I am all for raunch and this movie has it in spades but if I am asked to repeat the experience, I might say I am too hung over.
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