Plot: Doug (Justin Bartha) is about to get married and to celebrate, he and a couple close friends are about to embark on an epic bachelor party in Las Vegas, a grand goodbye to the single life. His conservative pal Stu (Ed Helms) is on board, but his best man Phil (Bradley Cooper) is even more excited, as he can’t wait for some time away from his wife and home life. Doug’s fiancee Tracy (Sasha Barrese) has asked him to take her brother on the trip as well, an eccentric chap named Alan (Zack Galifianakis) and while he resists at first, the three soon become a foursome. Once the group arrives, they check in to their unbelievable suite, then head to the roof for a toast while overlooking all of Las Vegas, before the night’s madness kicks off. But when the morning comes and the guys wake up, they realize they have no idea what happened the night before, there’s a tiger in the bathroom, and Doug is nowhere to be found. Can Phil, Stu, and Alan somehow retrace their steps and find Doug in time to get him home for his wedding, or did he even survive the wild night?
Entertainment Value: The Hangover was a smash hit and not only spawned two sequels, but launched a genre of “gone wild” movies of all kinds, a trend that continues to produce new films like Rough Night and Girls Trip. But few of the movies it inspired could even come close to the madness of The Hangover and even years later, it remains a hilarious and outrageous experience. This one gives us a series of wild set pieces, each a little crazier than the last and of course, also happens to include Mike Tyson, the music of Phil Collins, and a stolen tiger, so there’s that. The narrative does what it needs to, which is set the stage for the chaos of the blackout night and suspension of disbelief is needed, but that is to be expected, given the outlandish tone. The Hangover does remain at least a little rooted however, so it rarely spirals into pure slapstick and maintains the balance well, which is a tough task. Bradley Cooper is great as the group’s leader, while Ed Helms is fine here in one of his better roles, but Zach Galifianakis steals the show and would use his performance here to push into the mainstream, with a series of bizarre roles that would follow this one. Ken Jeong would also get his big break here, as the manic and unforgettable Mr. Chow. A dark, out of control comedy that has a wealth of quotable, memorable, and outrageous moments, The Hangover has held up well and is worth a look to anyone who appreciates the wilder side of comedies.
Despite the wackiness involved in this one, there’s not much outright sleaze, though we do have Mr. Chow’s bush nestled dong to cherish. Otherwise the lone nakedness is one boob as part of a breastfeeding scene, so while you might expect some sleaziness, that’s not the case this time around. A little bloodshed can be found in The Hangover, from Stu’s red stained mouth thanks to his tooth extraction to a minor gun shot wound, so some wacky violent unfolds, but it isn’t too over the top. There are also some small scale action set pieces sprinkled into the mix, so while the violence isn’t graphic, there is some fun stuff here. The dialogue is an area where this movie excels, with a host of hilarious and memorable exchanges, especially when Alan is on a roll. He provides so many off the wall, random, and bizarre lines, enough for multiple movies and that’s not even including the rest of the characters. Mr. Chow has some bright spots as well, but in truth most of the people involved have some wild lines at times, so this department is one of The Hangover’s strong suits, to be sure. The craziness is solid as well, much loonier than most of the “gone wild” movies that would follow, with Tyson’s unforgettable role, Mr. Chow and Alan’s madness, the string of ridiculous events, and the general over the top, go for broke approach all earn points here.
Overall Insanity: 7/10