Monday, January 18, 2010

“The Hangover” – Surprisingly non-stupid.

I wasn’t going to see this film at first. Let’s be honest, how good could a film be that involves Mike Tyson as a publicity stunt? Add in the incredibly abused cliché of a bachelor party in Las Vegas and this film has the same warning signs as a bad Mexican restaurant. The odd thing was that the critics were all giving it decent-to-good reviews. Like you, my reaction was bwaaaaaa???

For the first ten minutes of the film, I thought I was going to be right and I was starting to settle in for another ninety minutes of crap. They begin with character introductions, breezing through each one with the expectation that they are giving us just enough to understand their motivations and traits and how they change for the better by the end. Not that this isn’t necessary, there just isn’t anything even remotely funny. Doug is getting married, is very down-to-earth, and doesn’t want to get too crazy in Vegas. Phil is a womanizing douche bag, with a frat-guy mentality, who steals money from his students, and seemingly hates the fact that he is married with a kid. Stu is an emasculated pussy who lies to his overbearing, cheating girlfriend about going to wine country instead of Vegas (she actually buys this bullshit). Alan is the bride-to-be’s human waste of skin brother who is debatably retarded. Not only is all of this one giant, tired, turd of a joke, it’s the same set of characters for nearly every comedy released in the last ten years. For comedy’s sake, please stop regurgitating the same four dipshits and write some new characters. It really can’t be that hard.

The setup ends with the four of them taking shots on the roof of their hotel/casino. The next thing we see is a shot of their wrecked hotel suite. This is where the film actually starts and you forget about the wretched opening. I’d like to say the rest of the film is filled with fresh comedy, but that’s not entirely true. While there are some good jokes and some new jokes, the writers couldn’t help themselves with tired old jokes like marrying a prostitute in Vegas or a baby getting smacked in the head. On the bright side, learning that Stu pulled his own tooth out on a bet that he wasn’t that good a dentist was hysterical.

What makes this movie worth watching isn’t the comedy, but the mystery. Believe it or not, this film is more easily categorized as a mystery than a comedy. Upon waking up from their night on the town, Stu, Alan, and Phil find that Doug is missing and they can’t remember a single thing that happened to them. Everything is just as much a mystery to them as it is to us, which is a very refreshing approach to a film. I don’t do this a lot, but I have to hand it to the writers for approaching the story this way. While they could have used a lot of help on the comedic part of the script, following the characters in their discoveries was extremely entertaining. It kept the audience in suspense and made the experience much more enjoyable.

Like the beginning, the end of the film becomes the same boilerplate ending to all films. They find Doug, race back to make the wedding, and all of the characters have their moments of clarity. Doug realizes he was right to be concerned about the trip and reaffirms his love to his bride. Phil realizes he misses his family and might be a little old to be a douchey asshole. Alan realizes nothing, proving the writers really were just adding the typical moron character for cheap laughs. Phil tells off his girlfriend and finally reclaims his balls (though he’s probably just going to hand them off to his prostitute annulled wife in what’s sure to be a sequel).

If you are mad and getting ready to blame me for ruining the movie by telling you the end, just relax. If you didn’t see this end coming, then you are dumber than Alan. The end of this movie is practically worthless. The reason to watch this film is to discover the events of the previous nights and you’ll notice I barely even mentioned those. Don’t look so shocked; I’m as surprised as you are.

Rating: Nine and half dollars. You should get fifty cents back for a few missing jokes.

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