Posted on Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 06:00 PM
By: S. Tran
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha
Directed By: Todd Phillips
Formula Comedy Done Right
A group of friends wake up in Vegas after a stag party and can't remember what happened the night before. The groom is missing and they have to get him back in time for the wedding. If you have seen any movies in the last 10 years you can probably guess how this will all turn out. You'll know there is going to be a drunken wedding involved, probably some mobsters of some kind and somebody will realize he is really in love with his wife.
With all of that it would have been easy for The Hangover to slip into straight to DVD mode, but this surprisingly funny comedy had the audience laughing all the way through. This was a case where the journey was more important than the destination. Sure we knew how everything was going to end up but along the way we got to laugh our asses off.
A lot of the credit has to go to the like-able cast, especially the friends Alan (Cooper), Alan (Galifianakis) and Stu (Helms) who manage to lose the groom Doug (Bartha). Cooper's star is steadily rising and we should be seeing him soon in a leading role. He has the ability to deliver comedy but has the kind of looks that will attract leading man roles, which is a rare combination in Hollywood.
The actors have great timing and really know how make the comedy work. The problem with some comedies is that the actors will try so hard to be funny that it makes everything that much less enjoyable. What was great about this movie was that the actors didn't mistake volume or spastic flailing for hilarity, although there is some funny spastic failing as well.
Of course the screenwriters also deserve credit for coming up with some great scenes and dialogue. Yes, its all juvenile and there will be no Oscar nominations but so what? There is no doubt that writing good comedy is just as difficult as writing good drama and people are going to enjoy this movie despite what critics may say.
Not everything is original and there are some instances where the movie relies on some stereotypes to get some cheap laughs but the movie moves along at a good pace and keeps the laughs coming quickly enough so that the audience never gets bored. Throw in some cameos by a few famous people and you've got a fun, raunchy movie that doesn't test your patience.
3 and a half out of 5 stars.