After Hollywood’s last Las Vegas adventure with Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, seeing The Hangover on the horizon was a much need tonic to help dispel the memory of What Happens In Vegas. And after successful early test screenings, buzz in the film industry was as high for The Hangover as it has been for any R-rated comedy in recent memory.
Driving up to Sin City for a bachelor party, The Hangover sees four friends party on the strip one last time before Doug’s (Bartha) impending marriage, only when they wake up the next morning, their room is in a wreck and Doug is nowhere to be found.
If you liked Dude, Where’s My Car, well this takes the same form, dude, where’s the groom. The three remaining friends, including the awesomely awkward Alan (Galifianakis), retrace their steps as they try to find Doug, uncovering what was a riotous night in Vegas.
Though the script certainly isn’t as funny as it should be, the cast do a good job to rouse a few laughs as Bradley Cooper takes first notable leading role and Ed Helms’ throws himself into the film with no abandon. It is Zach Galifianakis, however, that steals the show. He is hilarious whenever on screen as the quirky and more than a little bit weird lover Alan, with great witty one liners and superb comic timing. He’ll definitely be back for far more roles in the near future. Ken Jeong is also hilarious as a gay mob boss whom the friends owe money, though his role is a scant 5 minutes long.
Despite a solid cast the film never feels like it quite does enough. The Hangover is a lot safer, despite the R-rating, that some of director Todd Phillips previous films, and certainly could have benefited from a more daring script. Mike Tyson’s cameo is a little strange and while the characters take a surprisingly pleasing arc through the film, The Hangover doesn’t contain the constant rip-roaring laughs the likes of Superbad or some of the Frat Pack’s best.
Still, The Hangover is far from a failure, and there is still enough to find entertaining in the boys’ struggle to remember just what happened the night before, and a great performance in the American box office proves it.