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‘The Hangover’ Film Review: Hanging over a guy flick

It’s a guilty pleasure comedy. Who knew a hangover could be this fun?

In terms of concept and plot, this guy flick about a bachelor party gone wrong is nothing special; but the simplest reason for its comedic success is the fact that it achieves a rare balance between character and vulgarity in its storytelling. There is a sort of perverse brilliance, or maybe brilliant perversity, thrown by the characters against the gambling streets of Las Vegas.

Director Todd Phillips (“Starsky and Hutch,” “School for Scoundrels,” and “Old School”) succeeds in promoting strong comic performances in the film. This Las Vegas-set picture centering around three groomsmen who lose their about-to-be-wed bud after their drunken misadventures proves that it’s not all about the big Hollywood names just to get the big laughs. While it would be relatively misleading to claim this as a brilliant cinematic piece, this cleverly vulgar bromantic comedy is an assured escapist offer.

The narrative’s stumbles and slurs become effective with its fine ensemble cast. Lewd and rude, the gags generally come from a fun script from Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. This aptly titled movie offers some spirited moments of devilishly smart absurdity. It turns out to be every bit as crass, offensive, and incorrect as people would expect, but they are victimized by its bizarrely gripping black comedy.

Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galafianakis turn out as a great comedic trio — each one bringing a different element to this escapist offering. Justin Bartha as the groom-to-be Doug Billings blends his matinee idol appeal with the thoughtfully funny twist by the story’s end. The awesome chemistry from the ensemble cast extends to the solid performances of the other supporting characters, as well as the cameos — Heather Graham as the stripper Jade, Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow, Mike Tyson as himself, among others.

What makes this flick work is how its antics seem innocently awkward than being deliberately awkward. This is what makes the movie so much fun. It is not in any way pleasing in the way it handles its female characters, but its clearly not very serious tone helps get the message that things should be treated as mere jokes — for the heck of it. In any case, the audience knows that it has no other major intention but to provide dim-witted comedy with immoral, ruthless characters not to be taken too seriously.

But where exactly did the chicken inside the hotel room really come from? At least, the tiger has a pretty clear role with Mike Tyson. Anyway, by the movie’s end, it’s a fun ride with the Wolfpack.

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Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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