Thursday, December 24, 2009

"The Hangover" is a Mixed Bag

As the saying goes, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas". This saying has become somewhat of a cliche. After watching "The Hangover", I would say this film is a bit of cliche as well. It's a story about three guys who take their soon to be married best friend to Las Vegas for a bachelor party for the ages. Sounds familiar. This bachelor party for the ages is meant to be an overnight party, not soon to be forgotten. But as the blood alcohol levels rise, naturally, their inhibitions, and eventually, their memory, dissapate.

The film stars Bradley Cooper ("Wedding Crashers"), Ed Helms (formally of John Stewart's "The Daily Show") and Zack Galifianakis as the three groomsmen who take their best friend Doug (Justin Bartha) to Las Vegas for his bachelor party. The morning after, the three groomsmen awake to pounding hangovers, their rented Vegas penthouse recked, and sans a groom. They quickly begin retracing their steps, picking up clues from wherever, and whoever they can. Along the way, they meet a prostitute (played by Heather Graham) a maniacal Asian business man (Ken Jeong), and a tiger belonging to boxing champ Mike Tyson, who makes a cameo. Hilarity ensues, and the three men endure being, among other things, beaten, mauled, tasered and arrested. One of the men, in his drunken haze, even has a quickie Vegas marriage.

There are some great things about this film, and some not so great things. We'll start with the bad. First of all, I think, while the details in the story are funny, the over all story is a little tired. We've all seen the buddy comedies in which one guy plays the pretty boy, one the uptight professional, and one the dimwit. Secondly, there's usually one character in these movies, be it a major or minor actor, that just sucks all the fun out of the film. This film certainly doesn't disappoint there either.

Now for the good news. Each of the main actors perform there respective roles very well. If you've seen any other films with these actors, you may say that they've been typecast. Bradley Cooper played the pretty boy jerk in "The Wedding Crashers". His character in this film is similar, but the difference is, in this film, he's a well meaning jerk. As I said earlier, the over all story of a bachelor party in Vegas is an old one. But this one relies on the hilarious details as the three groomsmen work backwards, retracing their steps in order to find their missing groom. I also find it interesting (not necessarily good or bad) that the main character is one that we really don't see at all, but the film is all about them in some respect.

This is a funny film. For those of you who know me, you know that I love stupid humor. Fart jokes especially crack me up everytime. "The Hangover" certainly delivers on both fronts. Finally, on one hand, the story is a bit stale, but there's enough originality that keeps the viewer watching a laughing. I'd recommend this movie, but not for the squeamish.

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