If you like your humor broadside up, hold the subtlety, you'll want to nurse this Hangover
with your best buds. The ensemble cast meshes perfectly--it's like a super-R-rated episode of Friends
: silly, slapstick, and completely in the viewer's face. When four pals go to Vegas to celebrate the imminent nuptials of one of them, they partake in a rooftop toast to "a night we'll never forget." But they're in for a big surprise: their celebration drinks were laced with date-rape drugs, so when they awake in their hotel room 12 hours later, not only are they hung over, but they can't remember what they did all night long. Oh, and they're missing the groom-to-be.
The film is so cheerfully raunchy, so fiercely crude, that the humor becomes as intoxicating as the mind-altering substances. The standout in the ensemble is Zach Galifianakis, who is alternately creepy and hilarious. Ed Helm (The Office), in addition to his memory, loses a tooth in uncomfortably realistic fashion, and Bradley Cooper (He's Just Not That into You) has deadpan comic timing that whips along at the speed of light. "Ma'am, you have an incredible rack," he blares to a pedestrian from the squad car the guys have "borrowed." "I should have been a [bleeping] cop," he tells himself approvingly.
Director Todd Phillips brings back his deft handling of the actors and the dude humor that worked so well in Old School, as well as the unctuous Dan Finnerty, memorable as a lounge/wedding singer in both films. But it's the nonstop volley of jokes--most cheerily politically incorrect--that grabs the audience and thrashes it around the hotel room. Just watch out for the tiger in the bathroom. --A.T. Hurley
Also on the Disc
If the original Hangover was just the hair o' the dog your funny bone needed, then this unrated version, packed with lots of hilarious and raunchy extras, is your drink of choice. This two-disc set includes the theatrical release as well as the unrated version, which extends the original gags (sometimes a bit too far, even for fans of broad, crude humor) and goes to town with risqué scenes that don't bother with double-entendre. The extras are truly delightful and include a great commentary that involves director Todd Phillips and stars Bradley Cooper (Phil), Ed Helms (Stu), and Zach Galifianakis (Alan). All commentaries should be like this--a great conversation with memorable moments and trivia woven into the viewing of the film, so that the commentary itself takes the front seat. There are lots of great behind-the-scenes factoids revealed here, including the fact that it was Galifianakis's idea to wear a jockstrap early in the film as he's getting dressed, giving the audience a full-on shot of his rear. "It was my idea but I regret it to this day," he says. "Though if you look closely, you'll see that the straps of the jockstrap pull up my cheeks and make them shapely." The commentary is just as fun as the film, and it makes the viewer realize The Hangover was a blast to make as well as to watch. Other great extras include a gag/blooper reel, a close-up of "The Dan Band" (the world's worst wedding band), a great clip of actor Ken Jeong's ad-libbed spiels as the crazed Mr. Chow, and an interactive "Map of Destruction" to show where the guys had their misadventures in Las Vegas. But this Hangover is best experienced strictly as an audience member--and this double-disc set is just the ticket. --A.T. Hurley