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The Hangover

This chicken is never explained...

This chicken is never explained...

Boys will be boys.

I guess that was the whole basis behind the new movie the Hangover.  Hell, it’s probably the basis behind the entire career of Todd Phillips, who also happens to be behind other cinematic masterpieces such as Old School and Starsky and Hutch.

Well, he has a new one to hang his hat on because this one blows the both of them away.  Well, that’s pretty easy considering that’s Starsky and Hutch but Old School was fun though.  This one, however, had me laughing hysterically for basically the entire movie.  And really, is there a whole lot more for a comedy?  As long as it doesn’t annoy and aggravate in that running time and the jokes run smoothly, a comedy has basically done its job.  Of course, its always great when there’s a little something going on behind the façade of the “let’s get drunk and have an awesome time” type of movie and there is kind of a genius absurdity to it all.  And of course, having some relatable characters to get along with is always essential.  This is why no comedy starring Dane Cook works.  Because no one wants to relate to a douchebag.  But really there’s not a lot to be thinking about here.

Four friends go out to Vegas for a bachelor party and lose the groom (played by Justin Bartha I guess but really who cares).  They can’t remember what happened the previous night due to accidentally being roofied and well the movie rolls on from there.  Sorry if I seemed to be rude to Bartha there but he’s kind of a non-entity to the movie.  Just a tool used to re-trace a crazy night and not much else.  Although, judging by the pictures from the previous night seems cool enough to hang out with, I guess.

The entire premise hangs on the chemistry and charisma of the three leads, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galafanikis.  And unlike other buddy comedies of this nature (such as Phillips’ previous Old School) there are no weak links in this cast (sorry Luke Wilson).  Over the course of watching the movie and thinking about the movie after, I’ve constantly changed my mind thinking about who is the real breakout star of this movie.  The guy who walks away with the funniest lines and jokes.  I honestly still haven’t settled.

Bradley Cooper basically plays the cool, skuzzy leader of the group and he has some great lines and does some real great work in keeping such a jackass to be a likable, cool guy.  I mean, the guy’s a schoolteacher who takes the children’s field trip money and steals it for the Vegas trip and yet, you still think he’s the coolest guy in the room.  Cooper’s incredibly charismatic in the role and owns pretty much everything given to him.  However, he’s far from the funniest.

Watching the movie, one could get the sense that Zach Galafanakis (if that is how you spell his name) upped and walked away with the movie hands down.  Playing the absurd man-child of the group, saying the inappropriate, zany things and generally always saying the most wrong things at the strangest times, he’s absolutely brilliant and hysterical.  But, in a sense, he’s almost not even a real character.  While the other two are hilarious, you get a sense of their characters as being real people that you may know or even be friends with.  Not so with Galafanakis’ character.  Although it doesn’t take away from the hilarity of some of the stuff, he does come off as borderline psychotic and you become worried for the safety of the other two just for being around the guy.

And then we come to Ed Helms, who quietly sneaks up on the movie and really delivers a great comedic performance.  Starting off as the beat up on friend who’s too uptight for his own good, as the movie moves on and the sheer lunacy of the night becomes further and further revealed, you see a man just giving up on any sense of who he was before this night.  From getting married to Heather Graham’s stripper character to apparently pulling out his own tooth, some strange side of him is revealed and as they search for their best friend he slowly gives up all sense of reason about the night.  Watching him lose his normalcy and then just come to accept it is funny as hell.  I don’t know, that may be just me.   He’s the one with the most well rounded character arc that feels real and while still maintaining the funny throughout.  Helms has always been good from his time on The Daily Show and his role on The Office, but this movie really gives him his chance to shine.  While Galafanakis gets a lot of the big humor of the movie, Helms is always right there just with just a look that just makes it.

Of course, beyond the characters of the movie, is the absolute mockery of the whole getting drunk in Vegas story this really is.  I don’t think there’s any other movie that can do a Vegas story and top their night.  A mysterious baby, a tiger in the bathroom, Mike Tyson singing Phil Collins, a stolen police car, a naked, tiny Asian man in the trunk of their car, the pieces of the night and trying to fit them together is great.  This is all perfectly capped with the photo montage during the credits as the events of the night finally reveal themselves.

It’s great, funny stuff which is all you can really ask for, bare minimum, in a comedy.  Hell, the laughs you could get just from counting the many variations of asking what the hell is going on, is worth every penny.

In the end, this movie’s not Shakespeare.  It’s crude, it’s lewd, and it’s hilarious.  It’s aimed directly at the Old School crowd and blows that movie out of the water by just being consistently hilarious through the majority of its running time.  It’s a bit slow getting started and the reveal of Bartha’s location at the end is kind of a letdown but the rest of the movie is so consistently fun and hilarious, it’s easy to forgive.  Now, it just has to stand the ultimate test.  Will it still be funny on repeated viewings or just more annoying (like Dodgeball)?  I guess we’ll find out in three years when it ends up on TBS very funny, censored all to hell.

Ha ha :(.


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