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The Hangover

December 12, 2012

The Hangover (2009)
Director: Todd Phillips
Actors: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms

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Synopsis: 4 guys head to Vegas for a Bachelor party. Mayhem and farce ensue.

Review: I’ve finally found the time to catch up with this ‘cult’ ode to fratboy-dom,  and – don’t accuse me of lacking a sense of humour – I was ever-so-slightly underwhelmed. I really like the premise, and the opening set-up is classically staged – with the story fast-forwarding to Bradley Cooper’s character calling the Bachelor’s wife-to-be, warning her that everything has gone horribly wrong….

Beyond that initial promise though and over time, I feel the story unravels. I would have preferred it if the concept had limited itself to a tale of guys getting horribly drunk, and wild, semi-forgotten things occurring. Instead, the filmmakers throw in so many totally unrealistic elements designed to ‘shock’ (Mike Tyson and the tiger, Bartha being kidnapped by a bizarre Chinese gangster) that it dissipates the sense that maybe – just maybe – this kind of thing could happen to any of us.

To me, the film’s saving grace is Zach Galifianakis’ character – a brilliant comic creation, truly idiosyncractic and nihilistic – and I wonder if its genuine subversion away from the more crowd-pleasing machinations of the rest of the story might betray that Galifianakis was permitted to improvise and draft his own dialogue for the film. (December 2012)

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