The Hangover Review
This summer season has produced some unlikely hits so far in the shape of rom-com The Proposal, horror Drag Me To Hell and now Todd Phillips' latest comedy The Hangover. It seems that for every star vehicle set to dominate the box office, there is a lower budget film featuring relative unknowns just waiting to tear it down.
The Hangover is the year's best comedy and could knock Beverly Hills Cop off the top spot as the biggest R-rated comedy; it could even become one of the biggest R-rated films of all time. It has made nearly $300million worldwide so far. Not bad for a film make on a $35million budget, with no stars and featuring a screenplay written by the guys behind Four Christmases and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
Phillips (writer/director of Road Trip, Starsky and Hutch and School for Scoundrels) hasn't had a massive hit since 2003's Old School but earned an Oscar nomination for his work on the screenplay for Borat. Although he isn't credited as having worked on The Hangover's script, it contains the Frat Boy sense of humour that audiences have come to expect from his films.
Films involving road trips and bachelor parties have been done to death yet this is a highly entertaining and original film. It centres on four guys who head off to Vegas for a final boys' night before they lose another one to marriage. Phil (Bradley Cooper) is a married father of one who teaches English to high school kids, Stu (Ed Helms) is a tightly wound dentist thinking of proposing to his bitch of a girlfriend, Doug (Justin Bartha) is the groom-to-be and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is his social misfit future brother-in-law. What is meant to be one last hurrah, a night of drinking, male bonding, some strippers and a few card games, goes tits up when the men are all slipped a date-rape drug and can't remember a single thing the next morning. With a trashed luxury suite, a tiger in the bathroom, a crying baby, a missing groom and an unexpected marriage, what happened during the last 12 hours is anyone's guess. The next 24 hours are a mad rush to get to the wedding on time but finding Doug is a mission that makes it further and further down their list of priorities as they encounter the police, Mike Tyson, a stripper and a crazy Chinese guy.
Having spent the last few years playing pretty forgettable roles in rom-coms He's Just Not That Into You and Failure To Launch and comedies Yes Man and Wedding Crashers, The Hangover may prove itself to be the film that puts Bradley Cooper on the map. Easy on the eyes and with a cheeky chappy charm that will appeal to the women in the audience, it's a wonder that he has managed to avoid the typical romantic male lead thus far. As Phil, he is the leader of the pack, desperate for a break from his traditional white picket fence lifestyle back in Los Angeles and out to remind his soon to be married friend exactly what he will be missing.
The highlight of the film for me is hairy man-child Alan. He is comedy gold and dispenses most of the film's one-liners (did you know that tigers like peppers but they don't like cinammon?) Galifianakis steals the show when he starts channelling Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man and I cried with laughter throughout the entire casino scene. Ken Jeong was also hysterical during his brief screen time as Mr Chow.
Like I Love You, Man, although the film is about a looming marriage, this is a bromantic comedy, not a rom-com, and is very much a guy's film. But that's not to say women won't enjoy it as it has a universal appeal. The Hangover could quite possibly be my favourite film of the summer so far. It is laugh-out-loud funny, unpredictable and highly quotable. The comedy is simple without being immature and the gags just keep on coming, including a used condom, a naked old man and Mike Tyson's rendition of the Phil Collins classic In The Air Tonight, complete with air drums. Remember to stay seated for a hilarious photo montage during the end credits.