Seeing The Hangover, I couldn’t help myself but to remember an old comedy way back to my early college days, “Dude, Where’s My Car?.” But, the similarity ends at the prologue because this film is at least twice as fun, twice as crazy, and instead of two mentally challenged dudes, this film has only one and to call him a mentally challenged dude is clearly an understatement.
The film teases us with a preparation of wedding scene, the anxious bride and the missing groom and his fellow best men. Then a call came in for the bride, it was from Phil, who is not the groom. We saw them on a desert, Phil, with a split lip, and a clearly rough night, struggling with words as he talked to the cell phone. On the background, we saw three figures and a battered car. He admits to the bride that they had lost Doug (the groom) and they have no idea where he was. The film then cut back to two days earlier when Phil, Doug, Alan, and Stu are headed to Vegas for a bachelor’s party. We don’t get to see what happened during the night as we’re acquainted with the boys in the morning when they’re waking up and have no idea nor clue about what had happened last night.
Now we’ve got the semi-end and the beginning. All that was left to us is how to connect the very very loose and tangled ropes that make up the story and to find the missing groom. Fortunately, we have the characters on screen to help us go through it as this film spent most its time following the trio trying to look for Doug and to remember what had happened to them last night, meeting total strangers (who of course, remembers them), recounted unlikely events from small evidences such as parking ticket, a hospital tag, and a baby. The comedy was born from there.
I wouldn’t hesitate to name this film as one of the best comedy I’ve ever seen and easily the best comedy this year. But I had thought, that with its admission to a general poll-based imdb’s top 250 film of all time (which shouldn’t be taken seriously, I know, my mistake), this film would offer something entirely different, something that rewritten the base of comedy and changed the landscape of comedy film-making for ever but it’s not. Apparently, we’re still in Judd Apatow’s reign of comedy after all, but, allow me to remind you, it’s not a bad thing. No, not a bad thing at all. Far from it. Well, at least, yet. “The Hangover” is just a cleverly constructed film that kept its interesting bar on high at all times, with likable characters albeit nary of them are recognizable right away (save for Bradley Cooper) that never falls into a stereotyped comedy roles save perhaps, for Alan. On that note, yes, the film works. In fact, it works so well, I would stop writing and tell you to go see it (it’s rated-R by the way) when you had a chance. I had a couple of heartily out loud laughs, and never cringed.
My rating: *** / **** A great comedy that kept throwing unlikely events and unlikely characters when you least expecting it. The characters are likable, and never too pathetic to be seen even when they’re relegated to obligatory gags and oh, there’s Heather Graham in here as well. As a boy whose adolescent with a fond memory of Heather Graham in “Boogie Nights” in mind, I, personally, was all smiles whenever she was on screen.