GG at the Movies – The Hangover

July 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Movies, Reviews

Researchers say laughter relaxes the body, boosts our immune system, triggers the release of endorphins, and protects the heart.  Well, if you would like 100 minutes worth of the best medicine, go see The Hangover.   I laughed the ENTIRE movie and not a quiet soul was in the theatre – virtually each audience member released quite a few endorphins that night.

No, this is not "Three Men and a Baby"

No, this is not "Three Men and a Baby"

Most great comedies are based on truths — we find humor in the illumination of our own human tragedy.  It makes us feel better about our own misgivings and puts things into their proper perspectives; that is, that life should be taken much more lightly than we tend to get caught up in.   Office Space is funny, for example, because we’ve all worked that type of boring job and put up with that type of boss at one point or another.  The Hangover is about a Vegas bachelor party gone horribly awry.  Yes, many have had those nights, though perhaps not to such extremes. The Hangover is funny because it takes this cultural tradition almost all of us can relate to and finds genuine humor in the pain of what happens afterward.

In the story, Doug (Justin Bartha) is about to be married, so his friends — Stu (Ed Helms), a dentist planning on proposing to his girlfriend, Phil (Bradley Cooper), a schoolteacher bored of the married life, and Doug’s soon to be brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis), who is smart yet socially inadequate — take him to Las Vegas for a bachelor party.  As the Internet Movie DataBase summarizes, the guys get a suite at their hotel, then sneak on to the roof of the hotel and toast to the night ahead. Skipping forward to the next morning, the three groomsmen awake with no memory of the previous night. They find Doug missing, Stu missing a tooth, a tiger in the bathroom, and a baby in the closet. Initially they believe Doug to have gone out for breakfast, but soon worry when his cellphone has been left behind. They collect what memories they have to figure what happened to Doug.   What a riot!!  The valet brings them a police car, which they had dropped off the night before.  The hilarious adventure ensues from there and I personally enjoyed the ride the entire show.  The boys find themselves in one crazy dilemma to the next before the resolution.

I believe this movie is genuinely funny because it achieves a balance of character and vulgarity.  Too many movies take things way too far for the laugh . . . this one pushes the limit just enough.  It’s not too vulgar with just the right amount of personality.  We laugh at the characters’ misfortunes because we like them and empathize with them.  Perhaps they even remind us of our own friends or ourselves.  Helm’s character makes a great supporting goofball without being too creepy.  Cooper uses his good looks to his advantage: he essentially turns the typical Leading Man figure into a bumbling idiot, self-absorbed and clueless. Galifianakis has a fair share of the film’s funniest dialogue.  He plays his character naturally; for instance, when he embraces his brother-in-law while nude, the act seems innocently awkward rather than deliberately awkward . . .  and that’s what makes it so funny.

The Hangover is destined to become a cult flick in the years to come.  Grading Girl gives The Hangover an A- for approachable characterization and endless quirky lines.  This is rated R, but it is not raunchy or indecent as some R movies blatantly are just to qualify for the rating.  So for a couple hours of pure unabashed entertainment, head to the theatre to see this comedy hit of the summer!

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