Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Hangover

The Hangover is getting rave reviews from critics. Is it the funniest movie ever? Well, the audience I saw it with laughed throughout--even at things that were at best mildly amusing.

I guess some people don't get out much.

But it is funny. And silly. And completely raunchy.

The premise is simple: A groom to-be and his three best buds (actually two best buds and future brother-in-law) head to Vegas for a bachelor party weekend. The buds wake up the next morning to what looks like one heck of a night--and can't find the groom anywhere.

Unable to remember anything of what happened the night before--from the tiger in the bathroom to a baby in the closet--the three have to find the groom and get him back to L.A. in time for his wedding.

We never see what exactly happened to cause the "hangover"--other than in a series of photos at the end of the movie--which is where most of the movie derives most of its humor. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galfianakis are the clueless trio, while Justin Bartha (National Treasure) plays the missing groom. I was disappointed that snarkmeister Bartha spent most of the movie M.I.A.--and even when he was on screen, his character was more of a normal, "nice guy."

What a waste. There are few actors who do dry and deadpan better.

Ed Helms plays Stu, a whipped dentist who is very different from his character on The Office. Although hints of the "Nard-dog" show up in a song he composes as a ode to Mike Tyson's tiger who is shut up in their bathroom:

"What do tigers dream of
When they take a little tiger snooze?
Do they dream of mauling zebras
Or Halle Berry in her Catwoman suit?"
Galfianakis plays Alan, the socially inept and mentally "off" future brother-in-law. When I first saw posters for the film, I thought Jack Black was in the movie. With his pudgy body and wild hair and propensity for pantlessness, Galfianakis is Black's doppelganger behind a pair of sunglasses. But his character has a goofball sweetness that is lacking in most Jack Black characterizations. Watch out Jack Black and Seth Rogen, there's a new pudgy funny guy in town and he's out to steal your thunder--and your roles.

Bradley Cooper provides eye candy for female viewers and holds his own in the humor department. As level-headed leader, he is less prone to the antics and neuroses of his cohorts, but still manages to get off a few zingers of his own.

The movie is pretty funny. I think that last summer's Tropic Thunder or even the more recent I Love You, Man were even funnier. There are some great gems, however--like the aforementioned "Stu's Song," Alan season a roofie laced steak for the tiger ("Tigers love pepper. They hate cinnamon."), a great visual gag that does homage to Rainman, to an inane conversation about the nickname for "rohypnol" where Alan and his inept drug dealer debate possibilities like "groundies" and "floories" since that's where you're more likely to end up than the roof.

If you liked Superbad and There's Something About Mary then this rowdy, raucous, raunchy romp is right up your alley.

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