Wednesday, September 18, 2013

60. The Hangover (2009)

Code-name: Tyson

Director: Todd Phillips
Type: Comedy

[btw, I can't believe this movie was up for anything... freaking sweet]
AFI- Film of the Year
Golden Globe- Best Picture (Comedy/Musical)

Doug- Justin Bartha
Allen- Zach Galifianakis
Phil- Bradley Cooper
Stu- Ed Helms
Jade- Heather Graham
Chow- Ken Jeong
Tracy-Sasha Barrese
Melissa- Rachel Harris
Allen and Tracy's Father- Jeffrey Tambor
Mike Tyson as himself


[Opening thoughts]
Now we're getting to some good ones. The next couple movies I'm going into will be comedies.

I remember when this came out. All of my co-workers were saying how funny it was and how they enjoyed it. Not they were spent a lot of the time quoting the movie as if it used to be high school.

I saw it on HBO a year after it came out.
And I laughed my ass off. I had so much fun watching all the shenanigans unfold, watching the twists and turns and lingering on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out how it would resolve.
More often than not, I usually don't figure out the big twists at the end of movies unless it's a walking cliché.

[The Premise]

Before our story began, Allen (Zach Galifianakis) thought of himself as a loner, a one-man wolf pack. When he met his sister's boyfriend, soon-to-be fiancé, Doug, he recognized him as one of his own and his wolf-pack grew to two.
Then Doug introduced Allen to Stu (Ed Helms) and Phil (Bradley Cooper), the Wolf-Pack was complete.

That's the cheesy Galifianakis version.

The short version is that Doug's friends took him to Las Vegas for his Bachelor Party.
They wake up the next morning to find their hotel room in disarray. Doug is gone, there's a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet and they don't remember what the hell happened.

The movie progresses as they try to piece together the night they can't remember.

[The Highlights]

Caution: there be spoilers afoot

From an academic point of view, I love all the pieces of this movie fit together. Kinda like well-written mystery novel. The plot doesn't have too many lulls because one clue always leads to something else.

Obviously, this is a guys' movie so most of the humor speaks to that respect. Compared to the first sequel (I haven't seen Part III, but plan on it whenever it hits HBO), the gross-out factor is minimal. The vulgarity derives from the number of f-bombs strung throughout the movie.
Although this might sound like an oxymoron, most of the vulgarity is handled tastefully.
Most of the time, they come out in the form of WTF or, as Stu so bluntly puts it in the cop car when they're fleeing Chow's men, "WTF is going on?!"

I knew Justin Bartha as Nicholas Cage's side-kick in the "National Treasure" movies, Ed Helms from "The Office" and, of course, Heather Graham from the second "Austin Powers" movie.
Bradley Cooper, I have seen as Rachel McAdams' jerk fiancé in "Wedding Crashers," but the name didn't stick until after this movie.
And Zach, I was among the people who never saw him before this movie and absolutely LOVED him.

Heck, most of the highlights really do belong to Zach. Whether he's trying to be funny or not, almost everything out of his mouth is hilarious. It's even funnier when the laugh doesn't come after you've had time to think about it.
He's easily the quirkiest of the guys. One of the funniest lines in reference to him came from Phil: "he's like a Gremlin. He comes with instructions and stuff"

but then again, all of them have their quirks... except for maybe Doug. It kinda sucks that the cutest guy is always left out of the action in these movies because he's the straight man.

Other than Doug, Phil is the most grounded in the Wolf-Pack. Usually he's the one who states the obvious or calls people on the obvious. Most of the time, it's Allen.
This comes from the fact he's the only one who's happily married.

Stu is comparable to Cameron from "Ferris Bueller" but multiple that neuroticism times a million. Most of it comes from his relationship with his girlfriend, Melissa.
Because of this movie, it took me a while to see Rachel Harris being anything but the nightmare she is here.
Let's just say Stu is whipped [cue the bull-whip]
When he isn't restating that Melissa slept with a bartender, he's professing himself as a doctor when he's just a dentist.
(FYI: Stu pulled out his own tooth on a dare, but Ed Helms is actually missing an incisor and removed his prosthetic tooth for those later scenes)

So you know something's up at the wedding chapel when the dude in charge says Stu is the "craziest bastard [he] met in [his] life"...
they were apparently so drunk and wasted the other night that he married a girl he met at one of the casinos.

In the words of Jade (Heather Graham), "Technically I'm an escort, but stripping is a great way to meet the clients."
Not sure why I like that line as much as I do... there's something profound about it. It's certainly better than that scene in "Fanboys"

Girl 1: we're not hookers, we're escorts
Hutch: What's the difference?
Girl 1: I don't know...

There's some debate about that on the Internet, but this isn't the time or place for that decision.

The baby in the closet belongs to her. Poor Allen was so disappointed when he found out "Carlos" was really "Tyler" :-P he had so much fun with him before they had to give him back

After this exchange, the police whose cop car they apparently stole catch up to the guys.
They cut a deal so the guys serve as test dummies for a stun-gun demonstration.

It is SO wrong, but each piece of it is freaking hilarious. Especially the exchange between Allen (aka "not you, Fat Jesus", lol) and the fat boy.

We're then introduced to a couple other integral characters in the series.
They find Chow (Ken Jeong) stuffed in the trunk of their Mercedes (which the cops let out of the impound)... and for whatever reason, the little Chinese guy was naked...
Funny, I forgot about that for a split second because I last saw this on cable... and he was wearing tightie whities in that version.
He beats the crap out of them with a tire iron before running off.

Allen takes a moment, after all this stuff has happened, to say he put something in their drinks when they had that toast on the roof before all this went down.
Supposedly the drug dealer mistakenly gave him roofies instead of the ecstasy he asked for.
At least it wasn't all for nothing because the roofies do come in handy later on.

They return to their hotel room to find Mike Tyson grooving to "In the Air Tonight."
Thanks to VH1's "100 greatest songs of the 80's," I totally knew what his favorite part of the song was gonna be :-P

To bring back the tiger (happens to belong to Mike Tyson), they put the rest of the roofies in a steak. Of course Allen goes the extra mile and seasons it.
"Tigers love pepper. They hate cinnamon."
Stu plays a song on the piano, which I believe Ed Helms co-wrote, while waiting for the tiger to pass out.

Apparently they needed more of a kick because the tiger rips the car apart.
It reminded me of that scene in "Tommy Boy" where the buck they were transporting to the vet rips its way out of the car... good thing the tiger didn't escape from the car also or they'd be in HUGE trouble.

Once they bring the tiger back, there's a small lull in the action... that is, until Chow and his buddies find them.
They met at the crap tables the night before. Hilariously, they threw Chow in the trunk because "you said he was your lucky charm and you wanted to take them home with him"
He has Doug hostage and won't give him back unless they turn the $80,000 they stole from him.

In absolute homage to "Rain-Man," all the way down the clothes, the escalator and "Iko Iko" playing in the background, Allen and the boys hit the tables... and manage to get away with it.
But once again, the guys think they're about to find Doug... the guy Chow kidnapped was the drug dealer that gave Allen the roofies, and his name also happens to be Doug.


somehow, though, it all manages to work out.
I'm not sure how the guys figured out that they left Doug on the roof. Other than the fact his missing mattress was hanging off part of the hotel in the morning.

Everything more or less works out, and thankfully Stu finds the courage to dump Melissa.

The credits give us the story of what happened that forgotten night in pictures.

[Speaking of Sequels]

I enjoyed Part II. Even if it is just a rehash of what happened here, but in a different country. The gross-out factor is kicked up quite a few notches. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

And despite the fact Stu is the one getting married this time (to a beautiful Thai girl played by Jamie Cheung), he proves again he has a weakness for people who solicit sex.

Still a good movie, but not quite as great as the original.
"The Hangover" will probably live on as one of the greatest R-rated comedies of all-time. The sequels aren't rated quite as well, but if anything, it started a trend in the summer box office these past few years.

The R-rated comedies usually rake in the most money, challenging even the superhero blockbusters for ticket sales.

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