Movie News & Reviews

'The Hangover' is funny, but it's no gut-buster

After years of painstaking research, I've reached the conclusionhangovers are a capitalist plot invented to prevent us all from beingdrunk all the time.

It's a fact that booze makes us sexy, fun, and preternaturally skilledat operating wheeled machinery. Like a magical potion, all it takes isa few gulps to make us experts on any subject, and renders us able toshrug off all sense of pain, reason, and self-doubt. Plus it comes incolorful glass bottles like potions! Pick up a weapon, which you alsobecome expert with while drinking, and you and your drunk friendsinstantly become a real-life adventuring party.

-- Times, theaters, trailer.

-- Read Mr. Movie's review.

It's no wonder that up to around the start of the 20th century,everyone was pretty much smashed all the time. No way they could pullthis off if they woke up feeling like burnt garbage every morning. Theonly conclusion is that Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, and PhineasQ.

Budweiser held a meeting one day, complimented each others'sideburns, and then agreed that drunk workers make for bad workers.The solution? Make it so alcohol makes you feel crummy the next day.What they could never imagine is that a hundred year later theirdecision would have us watching moderately good comedies like TheHangover

Justin Bartha is getting married in a couple days. In the tradition ofalmost-weds everywhere, he's going to Las Vegas for one last drunkennight on the town thrown by friends Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and ZachGalifianakis.

They don't just get drunk, they get drunk. On waking, they findthemselves in a wrecked hotel room with no memory of the nightbefore--and Bartha has gone missing. They've got one day toreconstruct their lost night and track him down in time to get himback home for his wedding.

There's a whole world of comedies that are funny enough as you'rewatching them, but that don't exactly leave you walking out thetheater thinking "Man, I can't wait to watch that again. I'm gonna gopunch out my boss and tell my girlfriend she's fat so I can go seethis tomorrow instead of them." If these movies were your friends,they'd be that guy you see all the time because he's buddies with oneof your other friends and he's cool and all but you'd never call himto hang out with by yourself.

The Hangover is an Incidental Friend Comedy. Don't get mewrong, it's funny. I laughed a bunch, I just never laughed all thathard.

This points to a fundamental lack of what can best be described as"awesome." As written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the charactersaren't awesome, they're more like types: Bartha is the boring goodguy, Cooper is the bad boy, Helms is the wimp so wimpy he'd lose afight with a mug of tea, Galifianakis is the lovable but kinda creepyman-child you wouldn't leave alone with children or pets or anyespecially sexy pieces of furniture.

Helms and Galifianakis bring a lot to their parts, and not justbecause Galifianakis is the most hungover-looking man in America.Helms is a product of The Daily Show, which is basically aguarantee that he's funny enough to steal your girlfriend within fiveminutes of meeting her (and may be able to convert your boyfriend,too), and Galifianakis is a treasure so precious that the onlyexplanation for why he isn't in twenty comedies a year is becauseincluding his mile-long last name in the credits doubles the movie'srun-time.

But they aren't given any of those killer moments of raw hilarity thatwould have made the difference between something enjoyable andsomething great. The Hangover's laughs are mostly the generickind you aren't likely to remember a couple weeks from now. Is thatworth seeing? You could do worse. But you could do better, too.

Grade: B-