7/30/10

The Hangover (2009)

Bradley Cooper (Phil), Ed Helms (Stu), Zach Galifianakis (Alan), Justin Bartha (Doug)

Directed by Todd Phillips (Old School)

Summary: Two good friends accompany a soon-to-be-groom and his future brother-in-law to Vegas for a bachelor's party. They wake up with no memory of what happened...and the groom is missing.

After watching Bradley Cooper in The A-Team, I realized that I never did a review for The Hangover, which Keven and I rented together earlier this spring. It actually coincides with a conversation we had with friends of ours last week about what makes classic film comedy. We identified a common theme in our examples of fantastic comedic films: the Quest.

With Ace Ventura or any of the Saturday Night Live spinoffs, the writers take a concept and stretch it as far as possible, barely filling the 90 minutes with palatable material. A quest comedy takes the opposite approach. The overarching plot already exists, regardless of the gimmicks or jokes, but it enhanced by comedic way stations. Those stations act as mini sketches and may even feature guest players who grab the spotlight for five minutes, and then disappear. They aren't part of the overall quest, but their brief appearances create fresh laughs. Examples we came up with were the utterly perfect The Princess Bride, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, The Producers, and an underrated favorite of mine and Keven's, Clue.

The Hangover very much followed this pattern. Guest appearances suffuse the 90 minutes with surprise laughs and absurd scenarios. From Mike Tyson and his tiger to the crazy Chinese guy trapped in the trunk, these sketches-within-the-movie were simply detours on the quest toward the characters' ultimate goal: find the missing groom and get him to his wedding.

Keven and I found it dead funny. I don't remember laughing so much at a Hollywood comedy since The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Oh, and Bradley Cooper is not only hot, he has a fantastic sense of sarcastic comedic timing. Verra verra nice. Watch it. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Kelly McCrady said...

"Mon dieu! I too drank ze cognac." We love Clue. I didn't know you liked it too :-) I can quote that movie all day long. Highly clever cinema.