Mr. Movie

A laugh hangover from 'The Hangover'

Four guys go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Expected.

Three of them wake up the next morning with a killer hangover. A chair has been set on fire and their posh hotel suite has been trashed. A clucking chicken is walking around. The chicken is a bit weird but the trashing of a room by a bachelor party is also expected.

-- Times, theaters, trailer.

-- Read The Critic of Pure Reason's review.

The fourth person in the party — the groom — is missing. A search of the suite turns up an unattended baby and a tiger. Not expected and definitely dangerous. The tiger. Not the baby.

The three survivors can’t remember a thing about the night before. They also don’t know what happened to the groom. Finding him becomes a priority.

These are the scenes many of you have seen in the trailer. Too often the funniest bits are crammed into the two-minute preview to entice you to see a movie that is ultimately a let down.

Not so with The Hangover. The set-up is tame compared to what these guys discover about their missing night. As the clues pile up the plot gets funnier and more bizarre until it climaxes in what could be the best credit roll outtakes in movie history. If not that, they certainly rank as one of the best-ever punch lines.

The Hangover is edgy, twisted, often perverted and perfectly written, directed and cast. Bradley Cooper (Yes Man), Ed Helms (The Office), comedian Zach Galifianakis and National Treasure’s Justin Bartha play the four guys. They have a blast. Cooper, in what could be his breakout role, centers the three-dimensions of chaos, Helms pushes its envelope and Galifianakis rips off one gut-busting adlib after another including one about a Holocaust ring that will put you on the floor.

Two rather ordinary writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Four Christmases) and Old School’s Todd Phillips are responsible. Phillips is also part of the group that came up with the concept for Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

That goes a long way toward explaining The Hangover. You have to wonder what these guys were doing when they came up with this one. They carved crass into classic and put these characters on that special plane where comic character legends live.

Just writing about The Hangover has me giggling. Thinking about one scene leads me to another, and the muffled giggling turns to loud laughter. People sitting next to me are starting to wonder. I want to tell you why and I want to tell them why. But as they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

It doesn’t, however, have to stay with this column. After you’ve seen The Hangover come back to this review and post your opinion. Let’s share some laughs.

Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars

Rated R for very mature themes, sexual content, graphic nudity. It opens today at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.