It’s been nearly 15 years since The Hangover entered the scene and made Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis huge stars. Directed by Todd Phillips, the 2009 feature is about four friends who drive to Las Vegas for a wild and unforgettable Bachelor party. However, the following morning, they wake up and can’t remember a thing. That includes the whereabouts of the groom, Doug.
With his wedding hours away, Stu, Phil, and Alan must retrace their steps and find Doug so they can get him back to Los Angeles in time to walk down the aisle. At a time when raunchy and outrageous comedies were fading away, The Hangover helped revitalized the genre and generated big bucks at the box office. That resulted in a new franchise being born. Love or hate the sequels, there’s no denying that the first film is a flawless example of popcorn entertainment.
The Premise Struck A Cord With The Masses Because It’s Relatable
The Hangover hit the nail on its demographic as the premise is something that most men could understand. No, not the whole losing Doug scenario. The partying and not caring about tomorrow situation. The film isn’t some deep or philosophical feature that’s meant to teach a valuable lesson (besides not stealing Mike Tyson‘s tiger. It’s about friendship first and foremost.
Alan is the outsider of the group and is also considered the black sheep of his family. However, he somehow finds his place with Doug, Phil, and Stu. Then there’s Stu, who’s being abused by his girlfriend. His friends help him see the light and gain the courage to break it off finally. In the midst of the wild gags and chaos is a heartwarming message about the value of friendship amongst men.
Of course, the journey to finding Doug is what’s memorable here. The jokes are fresh and unpredictable. In a nutshell, The Hangover is chaos, but one that’s controlled. The plot never meanders for the sake of a joke. Nor is anything particularly mean-spirited. Altogether, it does an excellent job of giving these characters dimension and growth in the midst of their trials and tribulations. It’s a hilarious feature with a likable cast and a funny script based on a situation that could happen to the most common folk.
The Hangover Worked Because The Characters Are Colorful, Yet Grounded
Chemistry is extremely crucial for a film of this nature, and the cast is spot-on. Alan is the eccentric one. Phil is the straight man. Stu is the pushover. The only one who gets short-changed is Doug. He’s simply there for the missing arc, nothing more. The characters are able to bounce off each other nicely, and their traits blend well with the supporting cast.
As previously mentioned, Tyson’s cameo in the feature is simply brilliant. However, Mr. Chow’s introduction is iconic. Even Jade the Stripper had a fun arc. It’s great that the film doesn’t shame her character based on her profession. It’s also sweet how her relationship with Stu blossoms. The Hangover would be nothing without these colorful characters. They serve the plot organically and have a distinct voice that makes their moments hilarious.
There could’ve been more done with Black Doug’s character (Mike Epps), but the swerve there was fun nevertheless. To piggyback off Doug being short-changed, it’s understandable why he wasn’t seen until they find him in the climax. However, it would’ve been great to give him more character before he went “missing”. There’s just nothing about him in the films that stands out. That’s not a shot at Justin Bartha because his performance is fine. It’s simply the way he was scripted.
The Hangover Is Timeless
It may have been a bit of a stretch to make The Hangover a franchise. The premise is mainly suited for one film. However, the respective sequels do not ruin what the original film did. The movie pushed the boundaries of comedy to new heights. It also squeezed out a wildly entertaining piece that’s both grounded and absurd. It’s not perfect by any means, but that doesn’t stop it from being a timeless classic.
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