The Hangover Review 2

The Hangover

DIR: Todd Phillips • WRI: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore • PRO Daniel Goldberg, Todd Phillips, David Siegel, Jeffrey Wetzel • DOP: Lawrence Sher • ED: Debra Neil-Fisher • DES: Bill Brzeski • CAST: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham

The Hangover is about four friends (Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis) who go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. They wake up the next morning unable to remember what happened or where the groom is, and set about trying to find him. The film opens with the remaining friends calling the bride and saying they’ve lost the groom, which sets the tone quite nicely. Then the film goes back to preparing and starting the night in Las Vegas, introducing all the characters and then skipping the drunken revelry and going straight to the following morning.

The characters are more or less familiar types, and the actors are probably more well known in America than here. This may be a good thing, as there’s less celebrity baggage, and to compensate, there are appearances from more familiar actors, including Jeffrey Tambor as the bride’s father, and Heather Graham, who’s good but plays a character that seems a little muddled in the way she’s written. There’s also an appearance from Mike Tyson, who’s not a great actor, but not embarrassingly bad (he shares his scenes with a minder-type character, who shoulders some of the acting weight).

The tone is quite a dark one, but they manage to keep it funny. Some parts work better than others, but it’s action-packed and past-paced enough that you’re onto a better sequence before you have time to complain. There are some inevitable nods to other Vegas movies, as in early on when the groom’s future brother-in-law says he’ll support the groom in Vegas no matter what, even if someone gets killed. There’s also a pretty good reference to Rain Man well into the film. It rolls out a lot of the usual Vegas references, and there are some music video-y bits with the inevitable stock footage of the city, but it still works on it’s own terms, and they manage to hold off from actual casino scenes until quite late in the story, focusing more on the characters and their search.

The film is directed by Todd Phillips (Old School) from a screenplay by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (Four Christmases). It’s not a ground-breaking concept, and the story is pretty ludicrous, but it’s also a lot of fun.

Tim Hanan

Tim Hanan
(See biog here)

Rated 16 (see IFCO website for details)
The Hangover is released on 12th June 2009
The Hangover
– Official Website