Friday, February 25, 2011

The Hangover (Phillips. 2009)

“Here is a movie that deserves every letter of its R rating”


Up to this point, the most modern film I had watched from the 1077 Films to See Before You Die was David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Though all the films have been great, I decided it was time for me to watch a film that was made during my lifetime. In recent years, the comedy genre has had its share of hilarious films. Pineapple Express (2008), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) and Dinner for Shmucks (2010) are just examples of this phenomenon. But those films do not qualify for the 1077 Films to See Before You Die. The newest comedy on this list is also the latest comedic pop-culture landmark. Of course, I am talking about Todd Phillips’ 2009 laugh riot, The Hangover.

There is something important that you need to know about me. I do not like to laugh at movies. That is why The Hangover is so fantastic. It follows the story of three troubled friends (along with an awkward tag-a-long) and how they chose to spend the eve of a wedding in Las Vegas. After taking shots that were drugged with roofies, the friends find themselves waking up in a hotel room with a chicken, a tiger and a crying baby. Oh yeah, and the to-be-groom is missing.

From here, The Hangover runs like a conventional comedy. The friends meet unusual characters and fling insults back and forth at each other like you would expect in a film directed by the same man as Old School (2003). But there is something about The Hangover that keeps you laughing- it has a brilliant script.

John Lucas and Scott Moore, the screenwriters, were able to do something that comedians have tried to do for years. They completely bombard you with funny shit. If you aren’t laughing at the tiger in the bathroom- you are laughing at the naked Asian man in the trunk of a police car. The film is fast, random and witty with actions that are constantly reinforcing your laughter. And not only are the situations in the film funny, but the dialogue is also hilarious.

This is a testament to the excellent work of the ragtag cast. Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms give career performances as they stumble along the streets of Nevada in search of their lost compadre. Heather Graham is soft and sweet in her portrayal of a nice young lady (hooker) who is just trying to find the right man to fit her lifestyle.

But the breakout performance in The Hangover was obviously the bubbly, naïve and side-splitting performance by Zach Galifianakis. Though a lot of people have been familiar with his stand-up for years, Galifianakis really thrust his name into the limelight of American comedic celebrity in this film. He was adorable, but incoherent, and every time he said something you were forced to listen with great interest. Almost everything he says is funny. His lines, actions and facial expressions really make the entire film.

The Hangover is a film that will be quoted for another decade. Very rarely does a comedy manage the staying power that this film seemingly has. It will make you laugh. It is vulgar, awkward, childish, heartwarming and therapeutic.

Remember, I do not like to laugh at comedies. The Hangover made me laugh, a lot. The streak of positive reviews continues as the most recently made comedy on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die proves to be a nothing short of a generational comedic landmark. 7 films down with 1070 to go.

The Hangover: B-

My Next Film…..Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Donen. 1954)

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