BluRay/DVD Reviews

THE HANGOVER

By • Jan 4th, 2010 •

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More than the rave notices I was hearing about the film, I was intrigued by statements to the effect that it was not only intelligent, but it wasn’t catering to the toilet humor intrinsic to comedies of the decade, the likes of Judd Apatow’s KNOCKED UP, FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, SUPERBAD, YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN, etc. Making it more like, say, SCHOOL OF ROCK, which had been the best comedy of 2003.

I missed it in the theatres, but was eager to catch up with it on DVD. Since I never watch trailers, and my friends know to keep plot descriptions to a minimum, I was unprepared for the second act. Yes, all I’d heard was true: it’s intelligent, and it rises above the current penchant for toilet humor. But no one had informed me about the surrealism. Act two is like something out of a Keaton film. More Magritte than Dali, piling on the inconsistencies of a lost night of possible debauchery, and involving us in the plight of three friends who’ve lost their fourth buddy, and haven’t a clue where he might be, what might have befallen him, and what has befallen them all. And we don’t get everything entirely clear until the end titles roll – the best end title sequence of the year, by the way.

So THE HANGOVER is refreshing, and also extremely clever in its plotting. Its screenplay resembles no other comedy script since the millennium, and if I were hard put to make a comparison, maybe I’d say GROUNDHOG DAY…? Todd Phillips (THE HANGOVER 2, natch) directs, from a screenplay (which his direction much improves on), by Jon (GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST) Lucas & Scott (FOUR CHRISMASES) Moore. Christopher Beck is credited with Original Music, but it’s the wonderfully chosen pre-existing songs that are memorable and make their scenes move so gloriously. I’m not familiar with Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zack Galifianakis or Justin Bartha, but they’re fun together, and Galifianakis in particular grows more and more hilarious as the film progresses and we adjust to his off-kilter delivery. Always great to see Heather Graham, still breath-takingly gorgeous at 38 (and she shows one nipple).

The unrated version’s dialogue track drifted out-of-synch on one monitor I showed it on, and it got worse as the film progressed. On a second monitor it was fine. I don’t know what to think of that.

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One Response »

  1. Great review Roy of my favorite comedy from 2009. And, as I’ve mentioned to you before, I’ve been conducting my own personal research on the film’s subject matter for nearly seventeen years now. Patiently awaiting the sequel. Nicely done, Chief!

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