- Rated R
- Buy the BD
All photos © Warner Bros.
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
f you were to take a look at Todd Phillips’ filmography, you’d notice a particular trend in regards to the types of movies he’s usually involved with. He may not be the world’s greatest director, but he does know how to cater to the frat boy audience with comedies that are lewd, crude and blisteringly funny. His latest movie, “The Hangover,” is made in the same vein as past hits like “Road Trip” and “Old School,” only this time, he doesn’t just push the boundaries in terms of what you can get away with in an R-rated comedy – he shoves them right off the edge. Wildly absurd and entertaining, “The Hangover” may not be the epic comedy that many expected, but it’s still a great buddy flick that could be the surprise hit of the summer.
Doug (Justin Bartha) is only days away from getting married, but before he settles down for good, his two best friends, Phil and Stu (Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms), and his future brother-in-law, Alan (Zach Galifianakis), have whisked him away for a night of fun and debauchery in Las Vegas. When they wake up the next morning, they discover their hotel suite trashed, a live tiger in the bathroom, a crying baby in the closet, and Doug is nowhere to be found. Unable to remember anything that happened, the guys spend the next 24 hours retracing their steps from the previous night in order to find Doug and get back in time for the wedding.
If the Vegas segment from “Go” was expanded into an entire film, it would probably turn out a lot like “The Hangover.” Part of the fun of the movie is watching the trio uncover the increasingly over-the-top events that took place the night before – whether it’s stealing a cop car, attending Stu’s impromptu marriage to a stripper (Heather Graham), or kidnapping a Chinese gangster (Ken Jeong). The main characters may seem like generic stereotypes – Phil is the natural leader looking to relive his college days, Stu is the straight-laced zeta male stuck in a relationship with a controlling girlfriend (Rachael Harris), and Alan is the wild card – but their different personalities mesh extremely well.
Though some of the humor does get pretty juvenile at times, the three leads have such great onscreen chemistry that it allows them to make the material appear funnier than it really is. Bradley Cooper has been a rising star for some time now, and Ed Helms has been making headway as a cast member on “The Office,” but this film is going to do wonders for their careers. The same goes for comedian Zack Galifianakis, who might finally find some success in Hollywood as a comedy go-to guy à la Danny McBride. The film is also loaded with lots of fun cameos (Mike Tyson being the most obvious of the bunch), but don't let that distract you from the fact that this is still Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis’ movie from start to finish. It might not have the mainstream appeal of a movie like “Old School,” but “The Hangover” is twice as crazy and just as much fun.
Unrated Edition Blu-Ray Review:
The Blu-ray release of “The Hangover” doesn’t add very much in the way of additional extras, but there is a picture-in-picture video commentary with director Todd Phillips and co-stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis that, while it starts out slow, is actually worth checking out. (You can also find some short extras via BD-Live, but it's really not worth the time). The rest of the bonus material can be found on the two-disc special edition DVD, and although “Map of Destruction” features some great interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, everything else – from alternate takes of Ken Jeong’s two scenes to the additional photos from the missing camera – is disappointing.