Saturday, April 10, 2010

Movie Log: The Hangover

Continuing the recent string of "adult" comedies -- which all have a lot of swearing and bad behavior, though much less nudity than the "teen" comedies I remember fondly from my misspent adolescence in the '80s -- The Hangover is a movie that succeeds pretty well at what it aims to do, and was very commercially popular, despite being clearly based on nothing more substantial than Las Vegas's current advertising slogan.

(Alternative, The Hangover can be seen as the first movie entirely given over to product placement, in the form of an entire city.)

So: the ball-bearing half of a LA wedding party -- groom Doug (Justin Bartha) and three groomsmen (Zach Galifinakas as the crazy brother, Ed Helms as the boring friend, and Bradley Cooper as the fun friend) -- go to Vegas two days before the wedding for the obligatory night of random debauchery. But the latter three wake up the next morning with a comically trashed "villa" hotel suite (tiger in the bathroom, baby in a cabinet, junk everywhere), no memories of the past twelve hours, and a missing groom. And the movie starts from that point -- it begins the morning after, as the title indicates -- to move forward and backward through the kind of hijinks that always happen in a movie like this.

Is it funny? I thought it was, and so did The Wife. A fairly representative sample of American adults also did, judging from the box office. Since The Hangover doesn't aim any higher than that -- it wants to take about a hundred minutes, and make people laugh consistently during that time -- it's a success. I doubt I'll remember much about it in six months, but that doesn't mean much -- I find I don't remember much of the details of superior movies in the same vein, like Wedding Crashers and Role Models. If you haven't seen it already, and you like movies like this, The Hangover is a professional and polished example of the genre, though without any real spark of originality or spirit.
Listening to: The Hives - Walk Idiot Walk
via FoxyTunes

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