If you’ve seen the ubiquitous trailer and TV spots for The Hangover, you’ve seen several of the movie’s high spots – tiger in the bathroom; am I missing a tooth; is that a baby; Mike Tyson air-drumming to Phil Collins – but, and you can trust me on this, they comprise the tip of the iceberg that is one weird, twisted and even trippy comedy.
We’ve seen all these characters before – the nerdy dentist with the shrewish girlfriend; the inappropriate fat guy; the schoolteacher who’s about as mature as his students and yet happily married; the slightly uptight groom-to-be – but we’ve never seen them from quite this angle before.
The set up is so simple – three guys take a groom-to-be to Vegas for his bachelor party… a night to remember. Then, the three wake up with no memory of the previous night; their hotel suite… sorry, villa… is a shambles, and the groom is missing!
Beyond the clips in the trailer, anything I might want to use as an example of the high FQ [Funny Quotient!!!] of this film might spoil whole chains of events, so I’ll simply tell you that Todd Phillips, director of Old School, has found a terrific script [by John Lucas and Scott Moore] and done right by it.
Bradley Cooper [Phil, the schoolteacher], Ed Helms [Stu, the dentist] and Zack Galifinakis [Alan, the brother-in-law to be – and a bit of a savant] are in the best form of their respective careers. Somehow, they make these stereotypes both sympathetic and hysterically funny. Justin Bartha [Doug, the groom-to-be] is both a solid straight man/victim of circumstance and funny when the script demands it of him.
The extremely good supporting cast includes, among others, Jeffrey Tambor [the very knowing father-in-law-to-be], Sasha Baresse [Tracy, the bride-to-be], Rachel Harris [Melissa, the shrew], Heather Graham [Jade], and Ken Jeong [Mr. Chow]. The gags range from polite to “OMIGAWD!!! Did you see/hear that???” – and the set up is as funny as the rest of the movie. Stay for the credits – there is a montage that tells us exactly what happened in those hours that have, mercifully it turns out, been erased from the guys’ memories…