Two days before his wedding, Doug (Justin Bartha) drives to Las Vegas with his best buddies Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and future brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis), for a celebratory bachelor night. When the three groomsmen wake up the next morning, however, they can't remember a thing. Their luxury suite at Caesar's Palace is trashed and even more concerning, the groom is missing. Phil, Stu and Alan try and retrace their bad decisions from the night before in the hope of finding Doug and getting him back to LA for his wedding. But the more they uncover, the more they realize how much trouble they're really in.
Review by Louise Keller:
A stripper, a stolen police car, a tazer gun demonstration, illegal drugs, a used condom, a naked Asian gambler, a bawling baby, a bemused chicken and a tiger are all part of The Hangover, an outrageously rowdy and funny comedy that is anything but a headache. The context is an irresistible set up of a bachelor night in Vegas, when the stakes are not only unimaginably high, but unimaginable. It's not just the ideas by writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore that play so well, director Todd Phillips massages the situations, the flawed characters and the ever-downward spiralling predicaments with a delicious sense of gravitas. Nothing is played for laughs - the comedy lies in the tragedy - and we feel the pain and discomfort as though it is happening to us.
The story begins with a distraught phone call before we go back in time to track the circumstances in which four friends head to Sin City for a night of good natured fun. 'I don't care if I kill somebody; I won't tell a soul,' Zach Galifianakis' Alan promises his discretion to his soon-to-be brother in law Doug (Justin Bartha). Galifianakis is a riot; his Alan is the foot-in-mouth, odd-man out who asks inane questions like 'Did Caesar really live here?' as they check into the plush Caesar's Palace. As soon as Doug promises to take good care of the pristine Mercedes convertible (borrowed from his soon-to-be father in-law), we know one of the things that is sure to go wrong. But that is the least of their problems; half the fun is not knowing what they are about to discover when searching for their 'lost weekend'. Ed Helms plays the paranoid dentist with the missing tooth, whose girlfriend from hell (Rachael Harris) keeps him under the thumb, Bradley Cooper is great as the smooth-talking, enigmatic Phil and Heather Graham makes the most of a small but important role as the breast-feeding stripper. In an inspired stroke of casting, Mike Tyson appears as himself and even gets to sing - well, sort of.
The spectacular tiger that the men find in their bathroom, after they wake up in their trashed $4,000 per night villa is not just a one-scene inclusion, although the idea of ordering a raw steak through room service is in itself funny. I'm still chortling from the image of Helms at the piano, empty martini glass and confused chicken nearby, singing 'What do tigers dream of?' There are so many moments to savour; it never feels like a series of skits, but an unravelling in which we all participate. It is not until the very end that we are shown exactly what did happen on that forgotten night - a raunchy photographic display indeed! This is a hangover worth reliving.
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HANGOVER, THE (MA15+)
CAST: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham, Sasha Barrese, Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong, Rachael Harris, Mike Tyson, Mike Epps
PRODUCER: Daniel Goldberg, Todd Phillips, Jeffrey Wetzel
DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips
SCRIPT: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lawrence Sher
EDITOR: Debra Neil-Fisher
MUSIC: Christophe Beck
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bill Brzeski
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 11, 2009