|By Zach Patterson||Wednesday, 10 Jun 2009|
The Hangover has all the ingredients of a lame meathead summer comedy. Stereotypical wacky cast of dudes go to Vegas for bachelor party (you have the uptight guy in Ed Helms, the off-kilter dude in Zach Galifianakis, the suave dude in Bradley Cooper, and the normal dude in Justin Bartha), and they get mega drunk, wacky shit happens, someone gets married to a hooker, random celebrity appears (Mike Tyson, as everyone has seen in the previews), they lose the groom and the wedding is threatened, random shit about gambling, blah blah blah. Describing the movie kinda makes me want to roll my eyes and dismiss it, as this certainly isn’t a new idea for a movie, and it’s easy to see this being the fratboy/bro movie choice of the week. However, the movie succeeds by simply being really funny and making smart casting choices.
I’m not a great movie reviewer in any sense, but anyone can recognize that this movie is carried by its cast. Putting in a cast of smaller role actors as the headliners may not lead to an attractive top billing at the theater, but casting someone like Will Ferrell or Jack Black or another big popular “personality” likely would have ruined it. That’s because this movie thrives on taking these 4 characters and putting them in situations and letting them play off each other. Putting a big name actor in here just would have taken the focus off this being a “team” movie and instead made it “big name actor leading some other dudes around Vegas”. Instead, you have Cooper, Helms, and Galifianakis stumbling around Vegas and encountering the trail of destruction they left behind the night before. Tiger in the bathroom, random baby in the room, naked online slots chinese dude in the trunk, stolen cop car, the movie throws a lot of wacky shit at them and it’s all handled pretty hilariously in their quest to find the groom.
Additionally, the secondary cast is just great. Rob Riggle, Heather Graham, Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong, Mike Tyson, Mike Epps are all people you’ve likely seen in other movies, but they fit their roles well and bring life to what would ordinarily be completely forgettable small roles in any other comedy. The movie also has its fair share of pretty raunchy comedy (the ending montage had most of the audience groaning at the one part), but it never gets to the point where it’s completely in bad taste, and it helps that the cast is just so likable. I was rather impressed with the fact that they made the main characters a bit more three-dimensional than most comedies.
character is kinda suave and a party dude, but he’s also a family man. Helms’ character is trapped in an awful relationship and lying to himself about it, but he slowly comes around as the movie unfolds, and even Galifianakis goofy character shows some genuine emotion and depth throughout the movie.
The only problem I had with the movie was that while it provided a good mystery in the sense of “what happened last night??”, but it really didn’t show much of what actually happened. There are very brief clips here and there, but for the most part, it’s them being told about what they did, and I thought that was a little disappointing. I don’t want to hear “oh man, you did some crazy shit last night!”, I want to see it too.
Other than that though? Pretty solid movie. I really liked it, and I didn’t expect to like it at all. If you are in the mood for a funny summer movie that will make you laugh and isn’t completely brainless, well, this is your movie.