Doug (Justin Bartha) is traveling to Las Vegas with his friends Stu (Ed Helms) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) as well as his soon to be brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis). Stu’s stuck with a harridan for a girlfriend, Phil’s excited to get away from his wife and kid and Alan … well, Alan’s just got a few screws loose. They arrive at Sin City in Doug’s future father-in-law’s vintage Mercedes, do a couple of shots of Jagermeister on the roof and a few hours later, the gang minus Doug wakes up in their swank hotel room. There’s a baby in the linen closet, a tiger in the bathroom, Stu the dentist is missing a tooth, and no one has any idea where Doug is.
Thus begins The Hangover.
I think I must be the only person in America who doesn’t find Zach Galifianakis all that funny in this movie. His portrayal of Alan is one of a brain damaged, socially inept whacko who reads awkward speeches about wolf packs and has a Rain Man moment in a casino. While his performance is worth a few chuckles, he’s mostly way out there and a source of strange tension.
The real comedy of The Hangover is in the strange, absurd moments like the tiger in the bathroom or a naked man popping out of the trunk of a car and beating everyone in the vicinity with a tire iron. The constant apparitions of the unknown and bizarre keep the film lively, interesting and funny. These events are paced so well, the film doesn’t even peak early with a hilarious cameo from Mike Tyson a third into the movie.
The friends’ desperate search to find Doug in time for his wedding back in LA is comical but the payoff to the search isn’t as good as one hopes it will be. In fact, almost all the characters in The Hangover smack of buddy-comedy / road trip clichés; it’s really the variety of the absurd that makes the movie worth watching.
Worth the $9.50 a piece Younger Sister and I spent to see it, but nothing life-changing.