“The Hangover” – 2009. Dir. Todd Phillips


With Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifiankakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Jeffery Tambor, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong and Mike Tyson.

“He wasn’t a bellhop, he was a bartender – and she was wasted. And if you must know; he didn’t even cum inside her.”

“And you believe that?”

“Yeah – I do. She’s grossed out by semen.”

I think we’ve either all seen this film, or we know a lot about it. Four friends go to Vegas for a bachelor party. They wake up the next morning and the groom Doug (Justin Bartha) is missing. The friends Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifiankakis) can’t remember a thing from the night before and they go in search for Doug, to get him back for the wedding.

Todd Phillips creates a smart film with a wickedly fun script and excellent chemistry between Galifiankakis, Helms and Cooper. I think the best part about the film is the fact that we don’t actually see the night of the bachelor party – we just see the beginning and the aftermath and we are as clueless as the people involved.

The film starts out incredibly funny, but once the film hits the hour marker and Ken Jeong pops naked out of the trunk of their car- the film begins to lose me. It’s not that the film isn’t funny, it’s just that it becomes outlandish for the sake of becoming outlandish. I just found Ken Jeong’s character not funny and really obnoxious, almost to the point where I would lose interest and get bored. I just don’t think stuff like that is funny anymore – the over caricature of stereotypes. It’s like the white guy acting like a black guy that we’ve seen so many times…shit gets old.

One thing that I would really like to point out was how Todd Phillips showed a lot of homage to Martin Scorsese. The scene when Stu first wakes up the next day, and gets up – there is a small shot of a still dolly where Stu is walking around the apartment which is very reminiscent of Harvey Keitel’s drunken stooper in “Mean Streets” and then of course when Ken Jeong is wearing his sunglasses and we see the silver Mercedes in the reflection of his sunglasses – ala “Casino”.

I do think Phillips is a very good director and for as much as I like “Old School”, I think that “The Hangover” is his best film. I don’t think it’s easy to make a good comedy – most comedies of my generation are wretchedly awful that is a crowd pleaser, but Phillips is able to make a good movie that is a dark and pretty twisted comedy.

The edginess of Alan must have been a gamble, because people were either going think he was hysterical or very offensive. Think about the play on Alan being a pedophile, and then later in the film Alan is the one who is carrying the baby around, and having the baby mimic jacking his little “weenis”. Look I thought that was awesome, but I’m sure there were some who didn’t.

I’m also glad Phillips chooses to go with a new generation of actors. The whole Wilson brothers, Will Farrell, John C. Reilly, Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller class is really starting to wear out. It was like they were trying to replace the original group of excellent comedic actors of Steve Martin, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd who are in fact – unreplacable. But I do feel that if “The Hangover” were made in the 1980’s – those actors would have played the parts perfectly. Steve Martin/Eugene Levy would have been a perfect Stu, while Chevy Chase/Bill Murray could have been Phil, John Belushi as Alan, and maybe even Dan Aykroyd as Doug.

The film really does succeed with Phillips’ direction, a very witty and clever script and excellent, excellent chemistry with the three leads. And of course – Mike Tyson’s cameo was HILARIOUS! Not only air drumming to “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, but his sucker punching of Alan was just as funny. But the third act of the film really starts to drag, and doesn’t live up to the first act. What saves this film is it has such a high replay value. I’m just very happy that Phillips didn’t have Will Farrell make a cameo in the film, which would have tainted it like “Wedding Crashers” was tainted.

I watched this film on Blu Ray for the first time last night and it has a very high quality transfer and a special feature on the DVD was a Gag Reel that was one of the best I’ve seen. There is an excellent improve/deleted scene of Alan and Stu making fun of one another with quick and witty one liners. It is hysterical!

Rating: 7.5/10

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Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

9 thoughts on ““The Hangover” – 2009. Dir. Todd Phillips”

  1. I wasn’t really feeling this one. I didn’t think it was all that funny and when I went to Vegas a few months ago, I was further annoyed by the absolute sea of howling dudes in “One Man Wolf Pack” shirts and other Hangover-inspired nonsense.

  2. I enjoyed The Hangover but the incredibly hype it had when it came out sort of set me up for some mild disappointments. I mean it was relatively funny but nothing too amazing. Just a nice fun comedy worth watching once, it’s a 7/10 for me. I agree that it definitely loses momentum as the movie moves forward.

  3. I couldn’t agree more about the Ken Jeong, not only is he a little grating after about a minute, but the gag overstays its welcome quickly. I’m glad though that this is the movie that sort of propelled Zach Galafanakis forward as being able to basically play a version of himself, except for a huge audience (minus the whole pedophile angle)

  4. I was never expecting this to be as big as a hit when it first came out, but I thought it was funny enough to be quoted. Just not to be called the greatest comedy of the decade, that’s for damn sure.

  5. Really, really like this film. Just thought it was a hundred times better than the ‘generic bro comedy’ it looked like and it actually made me laugh.

    Leslie Chow is also one of the best minor characters in comedy. “So long, GAYBOYS”

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