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The Hangover: Is It Still Good 7 Years Later

The Hangover is the first in a trilogy of comedy films directed by Todd Phillips and starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha and Jeffrey Tambor. The film tells the story of Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms), Alan (Galifianakis) and Doug (Bartha) who travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party to celebrate Doug’s impending marriage. The following morning, Phil, Stu and Alan walk up to find Doug missing and they have no memory of the previous night’s events, and must find the groom before the wedding can take place.

The Hangover received a lot of praise for breaking away from traditional comedy formula and unpredictable twisting of the plot. The film was an unexpected hit scooping up more than $460million, a very impressive return on a $35million budget. The runaway success of the film sparked the production of two sequels which were both also box office hits and failed to receive the positive reviews of the original. The three films together are affectionately known by fans as ‘The Wolfpack Trilogy’, coined after Alan refers to him and the friends as the Wolfpack.

Todd Phillips and his team did an excellent job of showing off the various sites of Las Vegas within the film. A fair chunk of the film takes place within Caesar’s Palace casino including a nail-biting scene where Alan uses his knowledge of card-counting to win $82,000 playing blackjack. If watching the Hangover has left you in the Vegas spirit, be sure to brush up on your poker strategy before you buy your plane tickets to Sin City.

Stars, Bradley Cooper and Zack Galifianakis, owe a great deal of their success to the Hangover. Although both of them had been the industry for ten years each, it was their roles in the Hangover that led to Hollywood knocking on their doors and offering them even bigger roles. Cooper has gone on to enjoy success in the A-Team, Limitless, Silver Linings Playbook, The Place Beyond the Pines, Guardians of the Galaxy (and a forthcoming sequel) and American Sniper. Although Cooper is credited as the lead star in the Hangover, Galifianakis steals the show The look of Galifianakis as Alan with his wild hair, bushy beard, t-shirt tucked into suit trousers, satchel and in many cases with baby strapped to his front in a papoose has become an iconic image. Galifianakis then went onto star in big roles in Dinner for Schmucks, Due Date, The Muppets (and Muppets Most Wanted) and Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.

By depicting and celebrating Las Vegas as the "ultimate guys' getaway," The Hangover had a major impact on Caesars Palace and Las Vegas. It was reported in 2013 that as of that year, guests continue to quote to Caesars staff two lines from the film's check-in scene: "Did Caesar live here?" and "Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly?" As a result of the film, Hangover-themed slot machines became popular at casinos throughout the Las Vegas Valley, the Caesars Palace gift shop sold tens of thousands of Hangover-related souvenirs, and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority received numerous inquiries from persons interested in recreating some of the film's most wild scenes, such as those involving a tiger.

Published July 25, 2016

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