REVIEW: ‘The Hangover’

Bradley Cooper
Ed Helms
Zach Galifianakis
Justin Bartha
Rated: R

This is likely the best comedy in years.

The film follows a group of four guys who are headed to Vegas for a Bachelor’s Party before one of them gets married. Three of the guys, Stu (Helms), Phil (Cooper) and Doug (Bartha) are best friends and they end up bringing Doug’s future brother-in-law Alan (Galifianakis).

Despite Alan’s awkwardness, the four eventually get together for a fun night in the town, but the story starts with the morning after. Stu, Phil and Alan wake up and find that Doug is missing, with few clues about where he is.

The biggest strength of “The Hangover” is that it completely skips over the traditional go out and party and watch hijinks ensue. Instead, this movie follows the aftermath of such a night out, resulting in a lot of unpredictability and surprises, making the humor even funnier.

The film is well paced, too, mainly because of how it plays out like a mystery. While the main characters are by no means detectives, they spend much of the movie following clues and going from place to place to get to Doug’s location.

What really works about this aspect is watching just how deep the rabbit hole goes. The plot of the characters’ wacky night in Las Vegas just thickens and thickens and the humor builds every time it does.

With all that said, none of it would have worked if the movie didn’t have some solid characters backed up by good performances. Fortunately, that’s what audiences get here. Phil and Stu seem to strike a right balance, playing typical ‘every man’ characters while also being a bit foolish at times, but not being over the top.

Alan, meanwhile, works thanks to how his character was set up. He has the fairly typical bumbling pratfall gags, but more of his humor comes from just how good hearted he tries to act.

All of the actors have an extraordinary chemistry with each other, too, resulting in the friendship (one that gets rather strained at times) feeling real.

The comedy in “The Hangover” is fantastic, especially since every moment keeps an audience guessing on what the next joke or cameo will be. The film provides laughs from beginning right until its literal end in the credits. 5 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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