Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Hangover: Grade B

The Hangover (2009)
Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Heather Graham, Rachel Harris; Director Todd Phillips.

Four guys go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party, rent a swank suite and drink too much. In the morning, the suite is in ruins, there is a Bengal tiger in the bathroom, a chicken in the living room, a baby in the closet, and only three of them left. The bridegroom is missing. None of the survivors can remember what happened the night before, but they have a few clues, such as, one of the guys is wearing a hospital wristband, and another is missing a front tooth. They set about trying to solve the mystery and finding their missing friend. As they make inquiries, even more bizarre clues and incidents turn up. In the end, everything is all right, more or less.

It is a sophomoric tale with silly gags, plenty of vomiting and car crashes, but the writing is very funny, the acting excellent, and the directing perfect. So stupid or not, it is a LOL comedy that rises far above the level of its genre. Acting in several supporting roles was quite outstanding, especially by Ken Jeong and Rachel Harris as the shrew girlfriend. Heather Graham didn’t do anything special. Popular music was mostly foreign to me, but interesting and appropriate.

The only serious error is the ending, in which the re-united foursome find a camera with pictures of the adventure, and they agree to look at the pictures once only. It should have ended there. But the filmmakers could not resist actually showing the photos while the credits rolled and the pictures are totally out of keeping with the spirit of the movie, showing gratuitous nudity and explicit sex. That had to be some jerk producer’s decision because the director had struck just the right notes up to that point. For a nonsense romp, this is way better than expected.

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