The Hangover

The Hangover

Directed by: Todd Phillips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha
Running Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Rating: R
Release Date: June 6, 2009

Plot: Four guys head to Las Vegas a couple nights before one of them (Bartha) gets married. The next day, three of the guys wake up and can’t remember a thing from the night before, plus they’re missing their friend. They spend the rest of the day trying to track him down. Hilarity ensues.

Who’s It For? It’s definitely rated R because of the jokes. Anything goes for a laugh. It might be mainly for guys, simply because it’s Vegas, following three guys around. But if your lady laughed at Old School, she should get some chuckles out of The Hangover.

Expectations: I just hoped to laugh. I’ve always like Cooper and Helms, but I haven’t totally fallen for Galifianakis’ stand-up comedy.


Bradley Cooper as Phil: Phil is the alpha dog in the group. We don’t know why these guys are friends, they just are. Everybody needs a Phil to push the group into uncomfortable situations, liking dropping a couple dimes on a penthouse suite.
Score: 6

Zach Galifianakis as Alan: The loose cannon. And apparently his boys need room to breath because his pants are off a lot. Galifianakis plays a shockingly dumb and awkward future brother-in-law to Doug, and that’s the perfect reason for him to not fit in with the other boys. Thank god he doesn’t, because most of the laughs come from him.
Score: 8

Ed Helms as Stu: If Alan is the crazy, then Stu is the glue. We are immediately rooting for him because of his absolutely awful girlfriend (Rachel Harris). Plus he looses a tooth. It’s too bad he didn’t have any chemistry at all with Jade, but she’s barely around. He makes one key mistake that has no backlash, but it should have … When he goes to feed the tiger, he actually shuts the bathroom door. Come on Stu, you’re smarter than that.
Score: 8

Heather Graham as Jade: Just insert hot girl, right? It’s a smaller role than I expected, and Graham disappears for huge chunks of time. Sure she’s good at playing a stripper, escort, porn star, so it’s not like I’m complaining, but if breast-feeding a kid is your best moment in a movie, you could use a better part.
Score: 5

Justin Bartha as Doug: You’ll recognize Bartha as Nic Cage’s sidekick in the National Treasure movies. Here he’s the one getting married, but he gets the shaft on screen time. Doug is likable enough, but his most defining moment is looking really, really red.
Score: 6

Talking: My favorite one line is “He’s like a Gremlin, with instructions and stuff.” And it’s tiny, but my absolute favorite dialogue is when Alan is carrying the baby and trying to explain to the other guys like this situation is just like another movie (Three Men and a Little Baby). He never says the movie, and refers to Steve Guttenberg as the Jewish guy. It’s the perfect level of my kind of comedy.
Score: 8

Sights: Vegas looks fun, which is pretty easy to do. The boys are best when they are beaten and bloody. There is something satisfying about pretty body Bradley Cooper having a little blood on him. Stu is actually missing that tooth. Helms had a dentist yank out his filling. Going the extra mile is much appreciated.
Score: 7

Sounds: Everybody sings, except for Cooper. “Who Let the Dogs Out” even works. It’s a slow-motion, guys walking down a hallway scene, and once again Galifianakis steals the show. Helms sings “Stu’s Song,” Galifianakis sings “Three Best Friends” and Tyson sings Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” But they save the best for last with a return of Dan Finnerty and The Dan Band from Old School fame singing “Candy Shop.”
Score: 7


Best Scene: The shock factor of Mike Tyson showing up to play is a really nice touch. And the return of the band is good. Plus there are countless tiny moments between the guys that seem like throw-away one-liners that really are the hearth of this movie.

Ending: At first, the ending has the same feeling that I Love You, Man did for me … kind of lame. But then they start the slideshow and you leave this film on an extreme high note. Thank goodness they found that camera.

Questions: It bares repeating, why would you close yourself inside with a tiger, when you could just toss the meat after barely opening the door? And does anyone see a connection between Stu and Jade? I fee like they didn’t even try to sell it. Sorry, back to the tiger, how did they get it into the hotel room? Vegas doesn’t sleep.

Rewatchability: Yes, there is one slow chunk of change that lasts about 20 minutes, but otherwise the laughs keep coming. It’s definitely a movie you’re happy you find when you’re flipping channels.


The opening credits let us know this is going to be a little dark and dirty. But the important thing here of course is the laughs. If Galifianakis being rude and crude with a baby, or a wrinkly old man getting poked and prodded isn’t going to put a smile on your face, then stay away. But for those who chose The Hangover, I promise a dozen laugh-out-loud moments. The moments that work best are based in reality, with the guys hanging out and reacting to Galifianakis. When you include the police using stun guns, or the tiger, or Tyson showing up the second time … the movie just isn’t as good. And with that comes a lull toward the end, where you become almost as exhausted as the boys on the trip. I was worried that the film would end on a down note, but (and I rarely say this) thank goodness for those end credits.

Final Score: 7/10

1 Comment

  1. BobsViews says:

    I can see why The Hangover is of this summer’s biggest hits. First, it’s funny as hell. Any movie that can weave a baby, a missing tooth, and Mike Tyson into its plot is comedic gold. Second, the cast perfectly play off each other. Bradley Cooper’s sleazy outspoken Phil, The Office’s Ed Helms’s whipped but goodhearted Stu, Zach Galifanakis’s indescribable Alan and Justin Bartha as Doug, the Groom, pull off each gag (No matter how gross), insult and wisecrack with great comedic timing. Third, Director, Todd Philips and Screenwriters, John Lucus and Scott Moore used a different approach to tell a standard comedic story. They focus on the characters finding out what happened at the Bachelor Party instead of seeing their antics that night. Their reactions to their antics in scenes such as when Phil, Stu and Alan go to the hospital to find Doug or seeing themselves on Tyson’s security cameras are hilarious. I especially, enjoyed the twists and turns in the story such as what happened to Doug during the Bachelor Party. It was great to see some surprises in a comedy instead of the standard set-up the joke plotting. The Hangover’s success proves that not only do audiences want to laugh at the movies but also want to see well-made comedies.


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