Review: The Hangover

Director: Todd Phillips (Old School, Road Trip)
Writers: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 100 min.

Feeling like the multi-plexes are strangely devoid of quality comedies that actually have a laugh factor of more than one for every thirty minutes? You and me both. Quality jokes are hard to put together; even harder to follow through with and harder still to get the butts in the seats during the summer with the onslaught of “mindless” cinema being released. Luckily, The Hangover seems to be doing all three – and doing it fairly well.

Low-brow, pretty standard plot line for a comedy: four buddies head to Vegas for a bachelor party and the time of their lives. We see them have a drink before hitting the town and then flash forward to waking up on the floor the next morning. The room looks like Hunter S. Thompson spent the summer there and the groom is missing. With no recollection of the previous night, the three “survivors” head out in search of their friend; retracing their steps with what clues they have: an abandoned baby, a missing tooth, a hospital bracelet and splitting headaches. Hijinx and hilarity ensue.

Directed by Todd Phillips (Road Trip), you obviously have to prepare yourself for some pretty juvenile humor. He’s about as adolescent as it gets, so check your maturity at the door. When you’ve got Zach Galifianakis (who makes a pretty good sized splash here) and Ed Helms (from the U.S. version of “The Office”) you know the low-brow humor will permeate throughout most of the screen time. This isn’t to say that’s a bad thing… just sayin’.

hangover2It’s clear that none of these guys could carry a film on their own, but working together the chemistry mostly works and they are able to play off of each other fairly well. Since each character does bring something different to the table in terms of personal problems and/or home life, there actually is a little bit to delve into with each of the guys which actually makes you better able to care or at least sympathize with one or all of them. Not that this is some deep introspective on the 30-something, male life, but at least there is more here than simply a bunch of college kids acting dumb for two hours. We’re actually interested in what will happen if they do manage to make it back to suburbia.

While the movie is certainly worth the money simply for the laugh factor, there are definitely bits that don’t work so well. For starters, the first 15 minutes or so I was a little worried. The set-up isn’t quite as fun as it could be and I sat pretty much straight faced until we get to Vegas; but that problem is remedied once the plot line begins. And no matter how much I tried to go with the flow, some of the jokes and characters (mainly “villains”) that show up here and there throughout the movie just aren’t funny. They’re used to fill in some blanks or as surprise cameos, but it’s mostly throw-away material.

While certainly not a classic by any stretch, The Hangover works well for what it is; a solid comedy with laughs that outnumber the dimes you fork over. The main characters are fun and likable and the situational bits that work, far outweigh the sketches that don’t. For my money, I don’t see any other options right now if laughs are what you’re looking for in the theater. Oh, and Heather Graham is still looking mighty fine.

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Love the film like anything.


There is a time and place for low brow and this one works, mostly due to a talented cast that has great chemistry together. We all have friends like each of these characters, which probably is why a lot of what they say and do is so humorous. Some of the crazy hijinks and shock jokes work, some do not. Some of the stuff, such as Mr. Chow, was a little to over the top, but it mostly worked for me as a go-with-your-buddies comedy. It's well worth a watch and a 3.5/5 from me as well.

"It's not a man purse. It's a satchel. Indiana Jones carries one."

I find it frightening that I have actually said that before.


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Rusty James

@ And the surprise cameo is shit as well.

you mean Carrot Top? You're wrong!


Mr. Chow is awesome, mutha fuckaaaaaaaaaaa (aaaaaaaa)

Ken Jeong's bit in the Goods trailer is awesome too

Rusty James

you're not talking about Tyson are you? Who is this mysterious cameo?


Why would it only work if you were 15? Because its a stereotype? Jeong combined multiple stereotypes together into a weird yet empowered character, and aside from that, the way he performed it trumps anything else. I'm not sure what makes him "only for 15 year olds" compared to anything else in the movie.


As for the Tyson cameo – it works in the trailer and really sells the movie, but once you've seen it, it doesnt really work so well in the final movie. Except for "NIIIIICE"