UK Film Review: The Hangover

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis
Directed by: Todd Phillips

The Hangover (2009) is hilarious. The Vegas bachelor party gone wrong premise is nothing new, but the story itself progresses so fast and with so many witty one-liners that the crowd of boozy lads this film is clearly aiming at should have a cracking time.

Costume (by Louise Mingenbach) plays a big part in The Hangover. The gang: groom Doug (Justin Bartha), best mates Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms), and the groom’s impending brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis), assemble themselves – suited and booted – for a spectacular night out. The way all guys do.

Phil drops his pink lens Aviator’s to don a sharp black suit with open-neck black silk shirt, Doug a black suit with open-neck white shirt, Stu a simple cotton polo and light coloured slacks, and Alan a tiny sunset print tee and tight white pants with grubby sneakers and manbag.

“You’re kidding?” blasts Phil as he spots what Alan is wearing. To Phil, Alan is deranged for even thinking of setting foot on the casino floor in anything less than a suit. In his eyes you have to get dressed up to get wasted.

Eventually though, when this whacked out quartet surface the next day in a puddle of vomit and warm champagne, their specially prepared clothes have disintegrated as fast as their situation; Phil spends the rest of the movie accumulating blood on his shirt like a macabre keepsake. When all comes good in the closing moments and a rent-a-tux van (genius) pings emergency supplies at the guys across a busy freeway, their lives can start over. It’s the ritual: new shirt, new day.

With comedy gold moments such as intoxicated Phil dry-humping a tiger, Stu berating his harpy of a fiancé, and a lounge version of 50 Cent’s ‘Candy shop’ that should be sung at every wedding ever, The Hangover obeys the first rule of comedy: to make you laugh. Thankfully it also finds room for interesting, very likable, perfectly played characters who are easy to relate to and deep down decent enough to care about.

There is not a drop of sentiment here however. Unless you consider Alan slicing open his palm in a vain attempt to integrate the gang as ‘blood brothers’ sentimental? Though his wolf pack speech is actually rather sweet, in a lonely-man-on-the -verge-of-a-breakdown kind of way. Best not to question exactly why Alan is banned from being anywhere near a school either.

The Hangover is sharp, side-splittingly funny and sure to become one of the top ten guy movies of all time. If only real hangovers were this much fun.

© 2009 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.