The Hangover (2009)

The Hangover (2009)
The Hangover (2009) DVD/Blu Ray

By: Matt Conway (Four Beers) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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The Hangover is one of the smash hits of the millennium. What looked like another R-rated comedy back in 2009, sprouted into something more when the film rocketed into major success with a beyond impressive 277.3 million dollar gross. Not only that, but the film continued to grow a fanbase across all different demographics, from teenagers to adults. Two years later, Todd Phillips and company proved that the film wasn’t a one hit wonder, with his sequel The Hangover, Part II, grossing a just as impressive 254.4 million dollars despite terrible word of mouth. Now this summer, the finale to it all is being released with The Hangover, Part IIIDespite all of this praise and support for the first film especially, I think that it’s actually rather weak.

The Hangover follows a simple, yet interesting premise. Four guys (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha), decide to travel to Vegas to celebrate one of their bachelor parties. After one crazy night, the group wakes up in shambles with the groom missing. Now the three need to piece together their crazy nights to save the wedding.

The Hangover is just one of those films that I can never understand why it’s so popular, even popular enough to have basically restarted the raunchy comedy genre binge, which is starting to get on my nerves because most of these movies being released are just as uninspired and not funny as this one.

A Toast

To be honest, the movie has its fair share of good qualities. This movie really nailed the comradery between the characters. The main three of the cast have good chemistry together, and the film perfectly measures the bar between likable and unlikable, to make them just likable enough to go on this journey with. Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, and Zach Galifianakis do a fine job playing their different character types.

The movie does also have its fair share of laughs, and whenever the laughs came for me, they worked really well. To pinpoint a moment, the Mike Tyson scenes were both really solid and gave me consistent laughs throughout. Also, a few of the shock humor scenes also got me, due to just how insane these moments are.

Please dont punch me Mr.Tyson
Please dont punch me Mr.Tyson

Beer Two

The movie feels far too long. At a running time of around 100 minutes, the movie’s second half really starts to drag. With the three running around Las Vegas aimlessly, the movie just starts to fall in a basic pattern of going to a location, jokes happen, and then finding more information on their night last night. Once I began to notice the lazily structured nature of the second half, the movie came to a point where it just began to wear thin.

The writers here, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, really have trouble with writing most of the characters in the film. While I liked the three leads, they, like everyone else in the movie, are just stereotypes. Ranging from the nerd to the mean cop, and so on. Most movies, even in the raunchy comedy genre, have progressed to the point in which we don’t need blatant stereotypes for characters, which makes this film feel archaic and mean-spirited.

Beer Three and Beer Four

Speaking of mean-spirited, the main reason this movie falls on its face is its humor. Most of the these jokes in the movie are about a race, sexual preference, or even poking fun at tragic events (i.e The Holocaust). While I am not a grumpy old man who finds nothing funny, I don’t find jokes like this funny.

My face while watching this movie
My face while watching this movie

To me, jokes like that just  come straight off as the behavior of a bully, picking at everyone who is not exactly like him. Now there are ways to joke about people and such and make it funny, but this film misses that mark completely. When a joke misses, it doesn’t just miss, it falls flat on its face in this film.

Also, I hate the way that the writers continue to basically write off Justin Bartha in these movies. Bartha is such a talented guy and it’s annoying that he only has 5 minutes of screen time in each of these. He is supposed to be a member of this crew, but we rarely get to see him with them.  Basically, his character is just a massive plot device, which is a shame.

Verdict

The Hangover is not a terrible movie, but it just averages out to be another below-average raunchy comedy. With a better script and more of a direction where the film was going, this could have been one of the best comedies of all time. Let’s all hope that The Hangover, Part III finally delivers something good!

 

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever a celebrity cameo comes up.

Take a Drink: for the tiger!

Do a Shot: whenever Ken Jeong’s character annoys.

About Matt Conway

I love movies and sports and run on sentences. You can find me at a basketball court, the local theater, or napping on a couch somewhere.

2 comments

  1. I’m with you in that I didn’t quite buy into the overwhelming hype of the film the first time around, although I did find it a bit funnier than you give it credit for. I won’t argue the humor isn’t pretty mean-spirited, though, which is pretty much a Todd Phillips hallmark.

    • I think that type of humor can work, and it has in other films, like Judd Apatow’s movies, but Phillips for me has most of his films just feel like picking on people rather than creating jokes.

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