The Hangover is a compelling anomaly of a comedy, one that easily could have been just another movie where a group of thirtysomething dudes get drunk and into all sorts of trouble. The method in which its story is told, however, sets it apart from its comedic kin and makes it all the more hilarious and brilliant.
A small group of friends, pretty boy Phil (Bradley Cooper), lady-whipped Stu (The Office's "Andy," Ed Helms), socially inept Alan (awesome newcomer Zach Galifianakis), and groom-to-be Doug (Justin Bartha), decide to go to Las Vegas for a final free-roaming, binge-drinking evening away from their normal lives, two days before Doug's nuptials are set to take place. Predictably, the drinking begins early upon their arrival, and not surprisingly, the antics begin. The best departure about The Hangover, however, is the intelligent structure of the story from there on out. The bachelors awake the next morning to discover that not only do they not remember a single thing from the night before, but also that their man of the hour, Doug, is missing and nowhere to be found. It turns out that, for reasons the film so elegantly reveals, that the men had been drugged. Their hotel room is in shambles, a baby is found in the closet, and a tiger has set up shop in the bathroom. The three friends are in similarly puzzling positions: Phil finds a hospital bracelet around his wrist, Stu is missing a front tooth, and Alan yet again finds it difficult to locate a pair of pants.
From that point, as the viewer, you're taken on a journey throughout Vegas with the film's three main antagonists, to determine what happened to them and their ride home, Doug. You find out just as much as the three friends do, and at the exact same time, about their night out, which drives up the anticipation of whatever following humorous event the friends discover. The interaction and comedic chemistry between Phil, Stu, and Alan is amazing; the casting couldn't have been done any better. The Hangover also contains cameo appearances from several unexpected characters, including Mike Tyson and several actors who starred in 2003's Old School (one of director Todd Phillips's fantastic previous works). The dialogue and language is crude and offensive, yet appropriate and rip-roaringly funny, and there's even bits of karmic plot points that round out the movie as an extemely well-accomplished work of raucous, constant humor.
Up until this point, Old School only had a small handful of competitive equals, but The Hangover is so confidently funny that it eclipses many of said competitors with ease. Even if somehow you don't begin to enjoy the movie from its opening moments, you'll be unable to stop being washed into the swirling miasma of curiosity and humor that The Hangover possesses. Chock-full of one-liners and hilarious moments, The Hangover is a treat, and unlike hangovers we've all had, will be one you'll be more than pleased to undertake a second time.