The Hangover (15)



Comedy (2009)
99mins US

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Heather Graham, Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong, Justin Bartha, Rachael Harris
Director: Todd Phillips
Writer(s): Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Two days before he walks down the aisle with his beautiful bride, Doug heads for Las Vegas with his three best buddies, Phil, Stu and Alan. Several hours of heavy drinking and wild partying ensue and in the morning, Phil, Stu and Alan wake with pounding headaches and no memory of events of the night before. A trashed hotel suite and the presence of a mystery baby are the first signs that something is dreadfully wrong; the absence of the groom-to-be is a close second. As the three friends retrace their alcohol-fuelled steps, they realise how much trouble they are in.

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LondonNet Film Review
The Hangover

"We lost Doug..." mumbles a disheveled and bloodied man into his mobile 'phone, sweating profusely in the rippling heat of the Nevada desert...

ED HELMS as Stu, JUSTIN BARTHA as Doug, BRADLEY COOPER as Phil and ZACH GALIFIANAKIS as Alan in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures comedy The Hangover, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Photo by Frank Masi"What are you saying? We're getting married in five hours!" shrieks Doug's alarmed bride-to-be. "Yeah. That's not going to happen..." So begins The Hangover, a bawdy and sporadically amusing buddy comedy about three best men who 'misplace' the groom during a stag weekend in Vegas. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's scattershot screenplay reads like the result of a drunken brainstorming session, peppered with bizarre, disparate interludes including a tangle with a stolen tiger, the extraction of a tooth and Mike Tyson singing Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight". Gags predominantly miss rather than hit but the rapport between the leads ensures at least one or two belly laughs. Indeed, central cast appears to be having a ball: reverse angle shots clearly show actors corpsing at each other's tomfoolery. It's a shame their hilarity isn't infectious. Humour is puerile: grown men using 'gay' as an insult or dry-humping one another. Boys will be boys, even in their thirties.

Two days before he walks down the aisle with the beautiful Tracy (Sasha Barrese), Doug (Justin Bartha) heads for the desert strip with his pals Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) and eccentric, future brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis). Tracy is understandably nervous about a bachelor party so close to the wedding but her father (Jeffrey Tambor) understands that it is an important rite of passage. "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, except herpes," he confides sagely. Upon arrival at the luxurious Caesars Palace hotel, several hours of heavy drinking ensue and in the morning, Phil, Stu and Alan wake with pounding headaches and no memory of the night before. A trashed hotel suite and the presence of a baby in a closet are the first signs that something is dreadfully awry; the absence of the groom-to-be comes a close second. As the three men hazily retrace their alcohol-fuelled steps, encountering a stripper called Jade (Heather Graham) and the mysterious Mr Chow (Ken Jeong), they begin to understand quite how much trouble they and Doug are in.

(L-r) Stu (ED HELMS), Phil (BRADLEY COOPER) and Alan (ZACH GALIFIANAKIS) are in rough shape in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures comedy The Hangover, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Frank MasiDirected by Todd Phillips, whose previous male bonding exercises include Road Trip and Old School, The Hangover is a mish mash of ideas, which never gel. If there is a method to screenwriters Lucas and Moore's madness, it remains hidden until the end credits when snapshots reveal what happened in Vegas in lurid detail. The three leads sweat blood and tears, literally, to wring out every last chortle from the set-ups. Galifianakis snaffles most of the giggles with his idiot savant's random outbursts: "Tigers love pepper, they hate cinnamon." Stu's romantic subplot is undernourished, lessening the impact of the final showdown with his adulterous, harridan girlfriend (Rachael Harris). Sometimes love means saying, "I don't"

- Sam Cannon


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