The Hangover Review: Angela Lansbury Meets American Pie

June 11, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews


THE HANGOVER: On General Release from Friday 12th June 2009

We’ve all been there.

A predictably messy night gets so out of hand you end up looking, speaking and defecating like the Missing Link. Which is swiftly followed by that most inevitable part of any great human misadventure: the morning after.

Still, in the history of the ‘oh what the hell did I do last night’ hangover, we’re betting that even Gareth Gates (pregnant Jordan), Robert Downey Jr (where do we start?) and The Hoff (chucking up on your child is never going to win any prizes) haven’t woken up to find Mike Tyson, a Bengal Tiger, a baby and a chicken in running loose in the room.

Ok, possibly Downey Jr.

From the (probably drunken) helm of Old School’s Todd Phillips comes this hilariously madcap romp through the Dr. Pepper school of Las Vegas thinking. We’re getting hammered in the land of debauchery and decadence. What’s the worst that could happen?

Two days before signing his life away to his beautiful fiancé, everyman Doug (Justin Bartha) embarks on a blow-out stag do to the City of Sin with his two best buddies – sardonic fun-loving Phil (Bradley Cooper) and henpecked, pussy-whipped Stu (Ed Helms) – and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Doug’s future (and Rain Man’s spiritual) brother-in-law.

The last we see, or they remember, of the evening is a rooftop Jagermeister pact, before waking up to a missing groom and various threats from people they can’t even remember meeting.

Raucously funny, it owes as much to Memento and Angela Lansbury as it does the crude humour of its peers, as the trio play out a human and cerebral pinball, bouncing from random scenario to crazy situation in a bid to find the missing groom before the big day.

Comedy audiences have been at the behest of the Hollywood Fratpack (Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell) for a while now and while we’ve never complained, it’s refreshing to see a bunch of talented, endearing and stomach-creasingly actors finally get their due. After numerous bit parts and ‘he’s that guy from that thing’ labels, Bradley Cooper breaks out as the bleary-eyed, cynical and impulsive Phil – a guy who laments the days of his single life, but knows deep down where his bread is really buttered.

With the charm of the Fratpack and the freshness of a cold shower the morning after, The Hangover manages to temper its crudity and raunchiness with a uniquely mature angle that results in the American Pie sequel you always hoped for: everyone may be a little bit older and a little bit wiser, but the whole thing’s still eternally silly and all the loveable for it.

Matt Risley

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