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  Publicity Stills of
"The Hangover"
(Courtesy of Warner Bros)

Director: Todd Phillips

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: NC-16 (Coarse Language and some Nudity)
Official Website: http://hangovermovie.warnerbros.com/

Opening Day: 30 July 2009


Two days before his wedding, Doug and his three friends drive to Las Vegas for a blow-out bachelor party they'll never forget.  But, in fact, when the three groomsmen wake up the next morning, they can't remember a thing.  For some reason, they find a tiger in the bathroom and a six-month-old baby in the closet of their suite at Caesars Palace.  The one thing they can't find is Doug.  With no clue as to what transpired and little time to spare, the trio must retrace their hazy steps and all their bad decisions in order to figure out where things went wrong and hopefully get Doug back to L.A. in time to walk down the aisle.

Movie Review:

Ah, bachelor parties. This is the time when a guy spends his last moments as a single man and becomes as crazy as he can with his best buddies. What better way to go nuts than to indulge in lots of booze, only to end up with a hangover the following day. No matter how crazy things turn out, none can be more absurd than those faced by the gang of four in "The Hangover".

The plot is simple but the circumstances that befall on our protagonists are surely not. Doug (Justin Bartha) is about to get married in two days, so like any other groom-to-be, he decides to go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party with his three friends/groomsmen: Phil (Bradley Cooper) the sly teacher, Stu (Ed Helms) the henpecked dentist and last but not least, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) the future brother-in-law who has a tough time adjusting himself to society with his weird personality. Apparently, they are set for a wild night out after enjoying some drinks but things take a turn for the worst the next morning. Doug is nowhere to be found in their hotel suite, there is a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, Stu is missing a tooth, Alan is well...Alan and why is there a chicken walking around?

Thus, the quest to seek out Doug as well as the answers to all the mysteries begins and so does the most enjoyable part of the film. It is through our journey along with the three guys that we get to know a little bit more about them. Just like in "Road Trip", which was helmed by the same director Todd Phillips, the three friends encounter a bunch of wacky characters in outrageous situations along the way. To reveal them in detail would be spoiling the fun, but let's just say there is a hot-looking Heather Graham, a bunch of Chinese gangsters and a surprise cameo by an infamous ex-heavyweight boxing champ. Heck, even the baby turns out to be a laugh riot too. Most of the jokes are of the downright zany variety with some nudity and lots of profanities, which should be right up your alley if you are into the typical American R-rated comedies. Besides "Road Trip", Todd Phillips has borrowed some bits of his other previous work "Old School" where men act in extremely childish ways to contribute to the overall humour here. Not only that, Dan Finnerty and The Dan Band, who were featured in "Old School" make another appearance here singing the shamelessly provocative "Candy Shop" song. The film also throws in a reference to "Rain Man" in the casino scene where the guys have to earn themselves some quick cash to salvage a situation, so if you are familiar with that movie, chances are you'll be tickled pink seeing two of the guys ride down the escalator like Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman did.

Another thing "The Hangover" has going for it is its perfect casting. The film does not boast A-list Hollywood stars unless you count up-and-coming actor Bradley Cooper and Heather Graham, but we find the four guys easier to identify with, precisely because they appear more genuine and down-to-earth. Ed Helms' portrayal of Stu constantly reminds us of guys who are reluctant to let go of a girlfriend despite her infidelity for fear of not being able to have another girlfriend ever again. Helms even has a chance to showcase his singing talent (another laughter-inducing moment which is thankfully included in the film's soundtrack alongside the aforementioned "Candy Shop" song) aside from saving the filmmakers some added effort in prosthetics through his natural lack of a tooth. Zach Galifianakis who bears a striking resemblance to director/actor Kevin Smith of "Clerks" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" fame exudes a certain charm that makes us sympathize for Alan even though he can be a tad creepy at times.

The film marks another success in comedies for Bradley Cooper who has recently appeared in the ensemble film "He's Just Not That Into You" and playing second fiddle to Jim Carrey in "Yes Man". He is clearly suited for the cool-looking-but-unreliable guy role here as Phil. Although we don't get to see much of Doug due to his absence for most of the film, Justin Bartha (best known as Nicolas Cage's sidekick in the "National Treasure" movies) manages to make Doug a likable character that we tend to care for his safety during his disappearance.

As "The Hangover" comes to a close, I am glad that I have the opportunity to review a good hilarious comedy, something that is few and far between in cinemas nowadays. In addition to providing 100 minutes of sidesplitting entertainment, it also contains some warmth at the end of the chaos where all the guys gain some lessons for them to have a major change in their lives. Every mystery gets explained (although I still don't understand how the chicken appeared in their hotel suite) and the exposition takes up the first few minutes of the end credits which is a very nice touch, so make sure you don't leave the cinema too soon. This is definitely one hangover you would want to experience firsthand, perhaps more than once.

Movie Rating:

(If you drink, don't drive; if you enjoy comedies, don't miss "The Hangover")

Review by Tan Heng Hau


. Role Models (2009)

. Yes Man (2008)

. Tropic Thunder (2008)

. What Happens In Vegas (2008)

. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

. Knocked Up (2006)

. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

. Anchorman DVD (2004)

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