The Hangover Review
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When I was a kid, bachelor parties in the small town where I grew up often involved chains, a crate, and a pickup truck. It was a pretty wild-and-crazy tradition—one that, fortunately for my husband, eventually died out. But that was nothing compared to the bachelor party in Old School director Todd Phillips’s The Hangover.

Now, granted, when discontented schoolteacher Phil (Bradley Cooper) and timid dentist Stu (Ed Helms) decided to treat their soon-to-be-married pal, Doug (Justin Bartha), to a bachelor party in Vegas, they weren’t expecting anything too rowdy. Just your average wild-and-crazy night of booze and gambling—and perhaps some other adult entertainment. They didn’t expect to wake up in a trashed hotel suite filled with chickens, a baby, and an angry tiger—with no groom in sight. But that’s precisely what happened.

With just over 24 hours to go until the wedding is scheduled to begin, Phil, Stu, and Doug’s brother-in-law-to-be, Alan (Zach Galifianakis), need to act fast. Unfortunately, they’re all pretty hung over, and no one remembers much of what happened the night before. But they’ve got to try to piece the night’s events together and follow the clues back to Doug.

The Hangover could have been called Dude, Where’s My Groom? Because, as far as the story goes, it’s strikingly similar to the 2000 Ashton Kutcher comedy, Dude, Where’s My Car?, in which a couple of guys wake up from a wild-and-crazy night of partying, only to find that their house has been trashed and their car is missing. This time, the characters are a bit older, they’re in Vegas, and they don’t encounter any aliens. They do, however, cross paths with a stripper or two, a couple of angry cops, various animals, and Mike Tyson. And the effect is pretty much the same: it may be ridiculous, but it’s pretty entertaining, too.

The Hangover is a random, crazy comedy, filled with bizarre situations and kooky characters (including Tyson, who has a hilarious cameo). The jokes may be lowbrow and sophomoric, but the laughs are almost constant as Phil, Stu, and Alan race from hotel to hospital to wedding chapel to police station, searching for their missing friend. Not all of the gags hit their target—especially toward the end of the film, as the same old thing starts to get a bit old—but there’s so much going on (at such a fast pace) that you’re sure to find plenty to keep you laughing from beginning to end.

Though some of the questions are left unanswered in the end (I’m still confused about the chickens)—and the pieces don’t really come together in any kind of order—The Hangover is still outrageously entertaining fun. So if you can’t afford a wild-and-crazy Las Vegas bachelor party of your own, take the guys to see The Hangover instead. Not only is it a lot less expensive, but it’s also a lot less likely to get you in trouble with your bride.

DVD Review:
The two-disc DVD release of the biggest comedy of the summer includes both the theatrical and unrated versions of the movie, as well as a handful of extras and a digital copy (so you can bring it along on your own road trip).

Extras include a lengthy gag reel, an extended version of the “Three Best Friends” song, an additional number by the wedding band, a short mash-up of the film’s action scenes, and 100 additional photos from the missing camera. There’s also a reel of Ken Jeong improv (much of which is completely incoherent, which only makes it funnier) and an interactive Map of Destruction, which shows what happened where (along with some audio clips, stills, and more from the movie). And, of course, there’s a commentary with director Todd Phillips and stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis—which offers more insight into the characters and some of the scenes (and also shows how much fun the guys must have had on the set).

While there are plenty of extras, though, none of them are especially noteworthy. They’re funny—but they’re not must-sees. If you really love the movie, though, you’ll find more of the same on the special features menu: more pictures, more music, more laughs, and more Ken Jeong.

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