Amazon Holiday

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Hangover

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: A bunch of guys go to Vegas for a bachelor party, and get into a lot of trouble, none of which they remember.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham, Sasha Barrese, Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong, Rachael Harris, Mike Epps, Rob Riggle, Cleo King, Brian Callen, Matt Walsh, and Mike Tyson as himself.

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketGo! Every once in a while I go to a movie that I know I'm going to love... And then I don't love it. For me, this was one of those times. So why am I telling you to go? Because I know that a lot of you are going to enjoy this film more than I did, and watch it over and over in your college dorm rooms, while taking bong loads, and slipping yourselves roofies. Now that that's out of the way, let me tell you why for my "money, baby," it didn't meet its full potential. While this film is relatable to anyone who's tried to go to Vegas to sin as hard as they can, there are a lot of missed opportunities that could've made it more emotionally and psychologically compelling. The characters are undeveloped beyond being caricatures of wacky people who gain and lose personality traits according to the story's needs. And they experience no growth from having lived through this incredibly extreme situation. So ultimately, to me, the film ends up feeling like nothing more than a slice of life, held together through a series of moderately funny vignettes.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: Men will laugh from beginning to end at the juvenile and irresponsible behavior they have come to admire so much in themselves and others. Women will smile from beginning to end, but probably not laugh out loud, as they are faced with a constant reminder of how they usually find themselves picking up the pieces.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: The best comedies always move you... This one doesn't even think to try. And the most disappointing part is that it could have without a lot of effort.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: The movie might not be, but this review may be in serious contention as my Most Controversial and Hated one to date. "It's about Vegas," you say, "It's not supposed to be that deep." But it breaks my heart to see something come so close to greatness and then miss the mark by leaving out such obvious and simple story beats as the lesson learned.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: They've been trying to groom Bradley Cooper into our next leading man, and this performance is just more proof that he can pull it off. But in the long run, this will be most remembered as Zach Galifianakis's breakout, as he introduces the masses to the character he's been playing in his real life for years. He's a strange cat, but nobody else does what he does better.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: Down deep, I think we all know that Vegas is a lot more exhausting and stressful than it is fun and glamorous. By coupling slick dutch angles, a fun soundtrack, and sudden breaks for slow-mo, with shots of the seediness of the strip's backside, and the constant construction, whose only aim is to con you into losing your entire net worth in seconds flat, Todd Phillips manages to capture both the excitement of being in a supposed black hole of what counts toward your real life, and the stress of the real life consequences that anyone with half a brain knows have no chance of actually staying in Vegas.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: Even my friend, Xavier, who's not a professional screenwriter, was able to see that this story never chooses a main character to follow, and suffers from it, because we are never given any reason to care about any of them. Sure, they have wacky personalities that make for funny jokes, but we really don't know who any of these two dimensional people are, or what they want. Only Ed Helms becomes a slightly better person from this wild journey, but even in his case we don't know what it is about the experience that causes him to change, or for that matter, what it was about him that caused him to be in a demented and abusive relationship in the first place. And this, our inability to relate to or understand the characters' motivations and thought processes, is exactly why we don't get that feeling of magic inside our guts, that is the reason most of us go to the movies, and why I didn't leave feeling 100% satisfied.

Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?

A: The sound is not turned up high enough on a lot of the dialogue, especially when it comes to Zach's lines, which he often mumbles under his breath. Obviously, this won't be a problem once it gets to DVD, and you can rewind.  Also, the funniest part of the movie takes place during the closing credits.  Some would consider this a brilliant move, because you leave the theater as the movie hits its highest point.  But in some ways, it's a cop-out to finally show us what really happened to these guys after the story has already ended.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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Anonymous said...

true that bong hits and roofies before this movie make it easier to watch. i'm excited to go to vegas again now.

Farzan said...

Nice review, I personally haven't had the time to check it out, but my sister saw it and really liked it. She was willing to go see it again which is surprising considering she doesn't see the same movie twice in theaters.

Monique Elisabeth said...

People love this movie. It's clearly becoming a classic. I almost feel like I should see it again, and see if I like it more the second time... But I don't think I will. Let me know what you think.