Cert: 15 Runtime: 100 mins Director: Todd Phillips Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong and Jeffrey Tambor
So long, gay boys!
So before the end of the comedic trilogy I thought we could go back to 2009. The Hangover is by far one of the freshest comedies of the 21st century and one of my favourite comedy films of all time. This film made millions and even won a Golden Globe, even after watching it at least 10 times it’s still fresh in my eyes. Two days before his wedding with the wealthy Tracy Garner (Sasha Barrese), Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) travels to his bachelor party in Las Vegas with his best friends, the school teacher Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper) and the dentist Stu Price (Ed Helms), and Tracy’s unconventional brother Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis) . Tracy’s father lends his convertible Mercedez Benz that is his pride and joy to Doug with many recommendations. The quartet rents the best suite in the Caesar’s Palace and they go to the roof to celebrate. Alan proposes a toast to Doug and they drink his booze. On the next morning, Phil, Stu and Alan have a hangover and they do not recall what they did last night; the room is upside down; Doug is missing; there is a baby in the wardrobe; a tiger in the bedroom; a chicken in the room; Stu has a missing tooth; and Doug is missing. The trio tries to track down last night to find what happened and sooner they discover that Stu married the stripper Jade (Heather Graham) and Alan has spiked their booze with “Good Morning, Cinderella” in the beginning of their crazy night.
The problems most comedies face are that they have to put all their best laughs in the trailer, so by the time the film comes around the funniest parts lose their impact and the rest of the film is disappointing in comparison. This is a problem The Hangover sidesteps masterfully. Yes we know they wake up with no memory of what went before; there’s a baby, a tiger, a chicken, a missing tooth, someone’s married a hooker and (in an unsurprisingly bizarre cameo) Mike Tyson turns up…but these moments, albeit hilarious, aren’t what make the film tick. The heart of the film is in the chemistry between the three leads; Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis are likable and identifiable enough for an audience to go along with events that could quite easily in another context seem ridiculous. Alan in particular is a character that could really grind your gears if he turned up in certain films, as part of the affable trio however he grows on you immensely.This success may partly be credited to casting unfamiliar faces but the actors themselves deserve huge credit. Cooper may already be slightly familiar to some and is undoubtedly was a star in the making then, Helms is best known for his stint in the US version of the office, Galifianakis though has come completely out of the blue and took Hollywood by storm.
The missing groom Justin Bartha also deserves an honourable mention for slotting effortlessly into the group when around, it’s a shame the plot requires him to go missing for the most part. There’s also perfectly pitched cameos for Heather Graham, Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong and best of all Rachael Harris who is magnificently vile as the hapless Stu’s wife.Phillips has no qualms puts his characters through the wringer, there’s one shocking revelation after another as the people, animals and events they encountered the night before come back to bite them on the ass during the search for Doug. As the audience know as little as the characters do the reactions ring true, they suspend disbelief as colossally silly events are only matched in magnitude by the sound of laughs in the cinema. The Hangover never quite lets up – the laughs even continue way into the credits – so it should come as no surprise that a sequel was signed up straight after. Brilliant chemistry and a few plot tweaks make The Hangover better than you could possibly be expecting going in. It’s funny from start to finish and is guaranteed to having a smile on your face at the end.