They planned a Vegas bachelor party that they would never forget. Now they really need to remember what exactly went down! A baby? A tiger? Why is one of them missing a tooth? And most of all, where is the groom?! What the guys did while partying can't compare to what they must do sober in an outrageous caper that has them piecing together all their bad decisions from the night before-- one hazy clue at a time.
The success of Todd Phillips’ surprise comedy smash of the summer must have left some rival studio executives scratching their heads- how did a movie made on a modest budget without a cast of A-list stars turn out to become the fifth highest grossing movie of 2009 (if Sherlock Holmes doesn’t dethrone it)? Indeed, before “The Hangover”, not many had heard of Bradley Cooper, and even fewer had known of Ed Helms or Zach Galifianakis.
But after watching the movie, one can’t help but praise the ingenious casting of Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis. As the man-boys in Todd Phillips’ movie, they not only have sharp comedic timing, but share a sparkling chemistry that is instantaneously hilarious to watch. The excuse for their immaturity is a Las Vegas bachelor party for their dear friend, complete with a stay at Caesars’ Hotel.
“Do you think Caesar stayed here?” asks Galifianakis’ character as he looks around the posh hotel lobby. Don’t answer that. After a night they can’t remember, the trio wake up to find their friend missing, their room in a mess, a baby in the closet and a tiger in the bathroom. The course of unraveling all that turns into a mystery adventure of sorts, complete with a whole bunch of wacky characters along the way.
Chief of which is an Asian gangster first found naked in the boot of their car, played by the very, very funny Mr Ken Jeong. Jeong’s high-pitched delivery of the crazed lisping mobster always ready to make some mean comment about fat-boy Galifianakis may seem caricaturist, but that won’t stop you from laughing out loud at his hijinks. There’s also the much-talked about cameo by Mr Mike Tyson and his Phil Collins-impersonation with the song “In the Air Tonight”, another amusing turn of events on their weird and wild journey of discovery.
But throughout the riotous ride, it is the solid performances of Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis who lend the movie some much-needed emotional weight. In the hands of lesser actors, Cooper’s caddish schoolteacher husband, Helms’ uptight dentist and Galifianakis’ overweight slob may very well turn into easy masculine stereotypes. But the trio’s sincere delivery goes a long way in making their respective characters believable, even affecting in their own unique way.
Their side-splitting adventure moves at a brisk pace thanks to the able direction of director Todd Phillips (“Old School”, “Road Trip”) and a cleverly twisted script by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (“Four Christmases”, “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”). Phillips, Lucas and Moore have all done some funny stuff, but their combined talents prove a true winner here, and “The Hangover” is easily their best accomplishment to date.
What makes the movie even more surprisingly delightful is how it manages to piece together all its loose ends. You’ll quickly find how this and that subplot isn’t just an excuse to go from one sketch to another, but actually fits in unexpectedly well in a whole tapestry of events from start to finish. Yes, despite its inebriation, “The Hangover” is an amazingly coherent adventure- save for a chicken in the bedroom that’s easily overlooked, but that’s just one small cock-up in an altogether smart, witty and tremendously funny movie.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
Map of Destruction: This interactive map of the various destinations in the movie allows you to skip from one to the other, each having a brief 1 to 2 min behind the scenes look at what went into filming the scene at that particular location.
Three Best Friends Song: Basically the longer version of the song that the trio sing in the car while travelling along a Vegas highway- you’ll know what I mean when you watch the movie.
Gag Reel: A B-roll of some funny and some not-so-funny goof-ups during the filming of the movie.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is a bit of a disappointment as the audio is mainly concentrated in the front even in scenes which could do with a little surround effect. Picture is clear and sharp, making the backdrop of Las Vegas look beautiful by day and by night.
by Gabriel Chong
Posted on 24 December 2009