Monday, June 15, 2009

Movie Review - The Hangover

In the movie business, summertime means a proliferation of big budget action flicks and to my delight, comedies. Most of the good comedies are saved for summer release though more and more it seems studios are releasing a few in March and April. This year has already seen “Adventureland”, “Observe and Report”, and “I Love You, Man”.

“The Hangover” is the latest comedic release. It has been getting positive reviews so I took the first opportunity I had to go see the movie. People I talked to gave glowing reviews so maybe I expected too much but I must say, the movie was a letdown. I do think the plot is a creative spin on the typical Vegas/bachelor party movie and the movie is well structured. The basic premise is that four friends, Doug (Justin Bartha; getting married), Phil (Bradley Cooper; frat boy friend), Stu (Ed Helms; nerdy friend), and Alan (Zack Galifianakis; crazy friend/soon to be brother-in-law), head of to Las Vegas two days before the wedding. After for a night of debauchery, Phil, Stu, and Alan wake up to find Doug missing. Most of the movie is spent retracing the steps of the night before so the remaining three friends can make sure Doug makes it back to Los Angeles for his wedding.

My favorite comedies come from Judd Apatow and crew. Apatow or Apatow inspired movies almost always provide at least one joke that I can say is comedy at its best and sometimes even comedic genius. The same cannot be said about “The Hangover”. There were funny moments -- with the funniest provided by Ed Helms (The Daily Show, The Office) -- but nothing side splittingly funny. There were too many jokes that fell flat or went too far. Not that I was offended by any of the jokes but sometimes it’s what you leave out that makes the movie. Addition by subtraction.

The movie was well cast. The best thing about the film is the emergence of Ed Helms as a movie actor. Stu was the only person I found consistently funny. He’s always been good on TV but this is the first time I can remember thinking, he could play the leading role in the right comedy. He’ll never be a star but has the potential to be a reliably funny wing man.

As for Alan, I can’t see many other people playing him. Zach Galifianakis does a fantastic job of making Alan crazy but not so crazy that the audience tires of him. Uttering odd, sometimes incomprehensible lines, Galifianakis always makes you think “what the hell” and more often than not the “what the hell” is accompanied by laughter.

Bradley Cooper did a good job playing Phil but he is the actor that could most easily be replaced in the film. This has more to do with the writing than Cooper’s acting abilities. His main role in the movie was to create the environment for Helms and Galifianakis to be funny.

One of the reasons I might not have loved the movie is that the two trailers for The Hangover gave away too many of the funny surprises. Overall, The Hangover was a fun movie but has nothing on my favorite comedy of the year so far, “I Love You, Man”. Coming July 31 is the movie I am most excited about seeing this summer, Judd Apatow’s third feature film, “Funny People”. Next up, “The Proposal”. Or not. Peace.

P.S.
I highly recommend seeing "Up" and "Away We Go".


Other reviews of "The Hangover"

Local DC Blogger - Plight of the Pumpernickel - Not only a good review of the movie but she also answers the question on everybody's mind: Does Bradley Cooper deserve heartthrob status? The answer might not surprise you.

My favorite movie reviewer - NYT's A.O. Scott

1 comment:

alen said...

The movie hanover is really awesome.In the follow-up to the record-breaking hit comedy "The Hangover," Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis), and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu's wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don't always go as planned. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can't even be imagined.
Good reviews!

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