The Night Out: The Hangover (2009), or Where’s Doug? Fuck That, Where’s Zach!?

7 06 2009

The Hangover is a movie about having fun and trying to get away with it. Why should we have to get away with having fun? Well, apparently the American government wrote a law back in 1799 stating that as one grows past the age of 30, the search for fun and enjoyment must begin to look more and more pathetic. I don’t know why; I’m not even at that age, but I don’t begrudge the 30 year-olds their pleasure-seeking. But the world seems to insist that at that age, it’s time to stop having fun and start a family. Well, The Hangover, a hilarious new film from the director of Old School, uses the backdrop of a bachelor party to show four friends (or three guys and a tag-along) to show how trying to have fun is getting harder and harder all the time, but when you get it, it is totally worth it.

Remembering the cool stuff is the challenge for these guys, though. After a drunken bachelor party in Vegas where the groom-to-be, his bride’s semi-psychotic brother, and his two best friends painted the town red, the brother-in-law and the two friends wake up completely hung-over to find their hotel completely trashed, their best friend who’s about to get married missing, and a tiger and an abandoned baby mysteriously in their midst. They can’t remember a damn thing, and they can barely stand up after the night’s festivities. Together, the three try to find their friend before his wedding and recollect their missing night, getting into all sorts of wacky antics along the way, including an effeminate Korean crime boss locked in the trunk of their car, a visit from Mike Tyson, and a trip to the LVPD headquarters to teach children about getting tasered!

It’s a simple plot with a lot of room for ad-libbing comedy gold. The whole movie is supposed to be about looking for Doug, the soon-to-be-married friend whose buddies seemingly misplaced him sometime during the night. But I’m here to tell you that within five minutes, I stopped caring about Doug entirely, focusing instead on the breakout star of this movie, Zach Galifianakis. He plays Doug’s brother-in-law, and he is the top reason to see this movie. Everything that comes out of his mouth is comedy genius. He is by no means a new face, and if you like alt comedy, you’ve probably seen this goofy-looking bearded mental patient in a number of bit parts over the years, but at last he is given a large role to show off his chops. I’m not lying when I say that over 90% of all his dialog is laugh-out-loud funny.

The other players are still good though. Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper play Doug’s two best friends, and they have a repartee that merits some mention. They are really good together, and I would watch a movie just about them if they were the stars. Notable cameos abound, as well, with honorable mentions like Rob Riggle, Ken Jeong, Heather Graham, Jeffrey Tambor, Rachael Harris, and more. Everyone has a funny moment, and everyone is at the top of their game here.

I think that comedies should be judged on somewhat of a different scale than other movies sometimes. I feel like perhaps that as long as it’s funny, it doesn’t matter if the cinematography or the direction or even the performances are good. As long as it’s funny, we should be kosher. The Hangover is one of those movies, though, that reaffirms my belief in the well-made comedy. It’s well-shot, it keeps you engaged, it’s funny as fuck, and the soundtrack is better than average. I was pleasantly surprised, and I think that director Todd Phillips is a classy guy; sure, he might be wearing a tux to a pajama party here, but that doesn’t mean it’s not appreciated.

Run, don’t walk, to see this movie. It’s one of the funniest films to come out all year, and you might just have some fun with your buddies when you watch it with them (and if you’re over thirty, be prepared to relish these moments of fun). Once again, keep an eye out for future superstar Zach Galifianakis and his super-powerful brand of awkward humor. He has the makings of a Ben Stiller, only in this case Zach is actually funny (BURN!). I give this film 8 1/2 tasered bearded men out of 10. Check it out!

Come back tomorrow, where I take on the mystery film with Just Cause!

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