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The Hangover by Todd Phillips

June 20, 2009

My one worry about this movie wasn’t that it wouldn’t be funny, but that I would have seen all the funny stuff in the trailers. And although I think it would have been more surprising if they hadn’t given so much away in the trailers, it’s still one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in awhile.

The premise is pretty simple: four buddies (actually three buddies and a brother-in-law) head to Vegas for a bachelor party. The next morning, they wake up to find the room trashed, a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, one of them missing a tooth and the groom missing altogether. Oh, and none of them can remember a thing about what happened the previous night. So they spend the next two days trying to locate the groom and reconstruct their evening from the contents of their pockets and various other clues.

What makes The Hangover smarter and funnier than most other lewd Animal House-style party comedy is the plot construction. Since none of the participants can remember the night (until the very end, when, in a nice touch, one of them finds his digital camera and we’re treated to a roll of hilarious snapshots), we’re taken along for the ride as they try to sleuth it out. And as bizarre the assortment of clues in their room is, it only gets more bizarre and more random as it starts to come together.

Props to Ed Helms (Andy from The Office) for his hilarious performance, and to Zach Galifianakis, who plays the off-kilter brother-in-law.

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