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The Hangover: 'You’ve never laughed like this'

June 23, 2009
By Tony Rutherford
Let’s try this one in fast forward. There’s a tiger, baby, stripper, boxer, dentist, drug dealer who toss a mattress, steal a police cruiser, toast on the roof, count cards, say I do, trash a suite, kidnap a would-be mobster while visiting a hospital, lose a front tooth, cash in chips, wreck a vintage Mercedes, and lose a groom.

Don’t take it from me raving about the laugh-a-second Vegas bachelor party comedic riddle called “The Hangover.” After leaving the rollicking auditorium, a short man (unrelated to the Warner brothers) and his significant other had to “help” me by blurting out, “it’s not cute (translation you see more than a naughty nightie) but we never laughed so hard at any movie.”

Together their age would total more than a century, so that’s a powerful recommendation.

Actually, the film’s uniqueness relates to an inventive structure, which wipes out the collective memories of four friends, Doug (Justin Bartha), Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), and leaves the audience and the four friends to fill in the blanks of a raucous party night. The premise has the four friends hours from missing groom Doug’s wedding and he’s nowhere to be found. To locate their friend, they must reconstruct the DNA from the past evening.

Director Todd Phillips single-handedly reinvented the screwball comedy, adding a whiplash pace and multiple perspective layers that would withstand the rigors of the action genre. Critical to the assembly: two opposites —Alan (the wolf) and Stu (the tooth man).

Having played ‘Dave the Bear’ in “Honeymoon in Vegas,” Galifianakis’ return to Sin City requires that he make the most of his beard and pot belly as the groom’s semi-retarded in-law to be, which pits him against tall, bespectacled Ed Helms, who becomes the too politically correct victim of a domineering woman. Occasionally, the pantless Galifianakis scrapes the edges of grotesqueness most foul, yet, partially retains ‘who me’ ingenue while Helms convincingly loosens up for the sake of credibility. Obviously, Brad Cooper steps into a lead as Stu, the dude who seamlessly ignites and solidifies what would otherwise be a disassembled hodge-podge of disconnected events.

The guy in the director’s seat (Phillips) actuates even more out of breath from laughing shenanigans when he utilizes the credit crawl as a delicious melting lollipop firmly affixes moviegoers’ eyes and ears on the canvas.

Whether you blush beet red or not, you’ll rock from unprintable visual displays and one-liners, which afterwards do not seem as foul as they were.

This “Hangover” propels something hilarious whether resonating in the gutter, the suite, during the road trip or at the wedding(s) …

Contact Tony at trutherford@graffitiwv.com

Fact Box

“The Hangover” stars Zach Galifianakis, above, and is directed by Todd Philips, who directed “Old School.” We give the film four and a half stars out of five.

 
 

 

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