Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

The Hangover

The Hangover

Review by Mark Lengieza

Back when I was just a young lad of 13, I settled into my seat at my local cinema for an experience that would change my life.  I was about to watch the funniest film I had seen to that time.  You may have heard of it, a little film titled Dude, Where’s My Car?  Yes, for a couple of years this was the greatest feat of comedy genius I had ever seen.  Constantly spewing “Dude”, “Sweet,” “and then?” and “It’s a Llama?” I was much like any other young teenager; stupid, immature and easily amused.  Now I am 21, a little older, a little wiser, and certainly more mature.  I no longer consider Dude amongst the greatest comedies, but I still like it for nostalgia’s sake.  I just realize it is a simple, stoner-based, completely ridiculous comedy, which is perfect for a young teenager. 

I tell you this story because it pretty much defines my feelings on the very similar, recently released film The Hangover.  This film’s plot runs a very similar course to Dude.  A group of guys can’t remember the night before, obviously got into some really deep and insane trouble, and have to go back and find people from their previous night’s activities to unravel exactly what happened.  Now, The Hangover is a little bit more realistic, using drugs as the reason for the memory loss (and not aliens) but the plot is still pretty far-fetched. 

The film was certainly funny, don’t get me wrong.  I enjoyed it for what it was, a very stupid comedy.  I just don’t feel like this will go down in the upper echelon of comedies.  It was no Anchorman, 40-Year-Old Virgin or Superbad.  I feel like this film doesn’t pass the “quotability” test.  I don’t think I’ll be breaking out lines from it years from now.  I don’t particularly get all the hype.

Zach Galifianakis is responsible for about 90% of what made this film good for me.  He plays his character absolutely perfectly.  I am a big fan of this brilliantly awkward comedian and he could not have been better for the part.  Without him, the film would have been entirely forgettable.  (And his card-counting scene was just genius.)

I guess my feelings on the film can be summed up like this: I would have enjoyed it more five years ago.  It was just too stupid for me to consider it great at this point in time.  For me, it was nothing more than a solid, but ultimately forgettable comedy that no one will care about in five years.  A one-and-one laugh, at least in this reviewer’s opinion.

3 ½ / 5 stars

Review by Chris Maitland

I am going to start off by stating the obvious: The Hangover is freakin' hysterical. This film is fantastic on every level and it’s a laugh-a-minute comedy.  This movie couldn’t have a come at a better time either. The summer blockbuster season has started and 2009 has really lacked a great comedy (I haven’t seen I Love You Man yet, but I have heard good things about that). This will no doubt be one of the funniest films at year’s end, if not the funniest. 
The story revolves some drunken debauchery at a bachelor party gone HORRIBLY wrong. Stu (Ed Helms of Daily Show fame, Alan (Zack Galinfankis) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) must scour Las Vegas for their missing best friend and groom-to-be Doug (Justin Bartha, who you might recognize as Nicolas Cage’s parenter from the National Treasure films). Lets just say during their quest there a quite a few surprises. That involve a baby, a missing tooth, a tiger, Mike Tyson, and whole host of other things. 
This movie will go down as comedy classic. It's completely on par with films such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad and Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. The chemistry between the three leads is off the charts.  The film throws  funny situation after funny situation at you and it quites such a comedic punch you will no doubt be in tears laughing. 
Galanfankis is the best part of the his film. His character Alan is one for the ages. You will quoting his character for years down the line. I have already used quotes from his Card Counting and Wolf Pack speeches on several occasions. Priceless performance by him. The rest of the cast is also fantastic. Ken Jeong and a great cameo by Mike Tyson are also priceless. 
I won't mince words:  if you want to laugh this film is for you.  It is non-stop laughter for an hour and 35 minutes. Its completely worth your time and money.  And by the way, stay for the closing credits - it might be the best sequence of the whole film. Go see it now!
4 ½ / 5 stars

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