VideoVista logo
MONTHLY WEB-ZINE OF  
DVD & BLU-RAY REVIEWS
 
action | adventure | art | cartoon | comedy | cult | disaster | docu | drama | fantasy | horror | kung fu | monster | musical | parody | romance | satire | sequel | SF | sport | spy | surreal | 3D | thriller | TV | war | western
VideoVista covers rental and retail titles in all genres and movie or TV categories, with filmmaker interviews, auteur profiles, top 10 lists, plus regular prize draws.

HOME PAGE
INDEX OF ALL REVIEWS
SEARCH THIS SITE
COMPETITIONS
FORTHCOMING REVIEWS
TOP 10 LISTS
INTERVIEWS & PROFILES
RETRO REVIEWS SECTION
ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORS
READERS' COMMENTS
SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
SITE MAP
LINKS


SUPPORT THIS SITE -
SHOP USING THESE LINKS

In Association with Amazon.com


visit other Pigasus Press sites...
The ZONE - genre nonfiction
Soundchecks - music reviews
Rotary Action - helicopter movies

August 2010

The Hangover

cast: Justin Bartha, Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Heather Graham

director: Todd Phillips

92 minutes (15) 2009
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Warner DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 9/10
review by James A. Stewart

The Hangover

To make a great comedy it is absolutely essential that the characters, no matter how far out there, can be related to and that the balance between the triumvirate of subtly, absurdity and crudity is maintained throughout. In the Todd Phillips directed movie The Hangover these essential requirements are delivered with aplomb.

Four men, three friends and a reluctantly invited future brother-in-law, make their way to Las Vegas for a night on the tiles. There is the super-confident good-looking Phil, and Stu who is a downtrodden idiot. With this pair are Doug (the groom) and his wife's brother, Alan, who is an unhinged and frankly bizarre individual who at times shows all the social skills of a monkey at an English garden party.

They are on a 'bachelor party', to use the American phrase, and Phil, being the alpha-male, takes the lead in the group and after a few drinks (one spiked) the movie splits from a pre-bar drink on the roof of the hotel to the team waking up in a trashed hotel suite with no memory of the night before.

What makes The Hangover work is the characterisation - Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is John Belushi reincarnate and, as the movie wears on, we learn to love this rogue and grow to appreciate he is misunderstood, if still a wee bit weird. Stu's under-the-thumb subservience to his two-timing girlfriend is reflective of a character in most social circles - we all have a friend who causes us to scratch our head in befuddlement as to why they still persist with their relationship. Phil is the good looking, sporty-type who everyone looks to, no matter how idiotic the idea. In the context of the film, Doug doesn't really matter as he is missing for the vast majority of it. And this is the vehicle on which the movie works.

Phil, Stu and Alan's loss of memory means they cannot locate Doug and so off they set on a series of quite bizarre adventures to try and recall the events of the night gone and get their friend back. They quickly find out that Stu has been married, the triads are after them, and so are the police, and that the tiger they stole whilst stinking drunk was Mike Tyson's. Everything that would potentially happen on a more sedate stag-do is exaggerated to implausible lengths, yet the genius is that the plausibility is not questioned due to the fact that the setting is Las Vegas and that the characters carry on if all is normal.

A special mention should go to Mr Chow (Ken Jeo) who makes a couple of brief appearances but must be the campest gangster in history and his mix of American idioms with eastern actions is hilarious.

The Hangover is a quality comedy made with a great cast, excellent direction and extremely funny writing. The only criticism is the ending seems a bit rushed and feels as if the writers didn't quite know how serious to be in the end. But, this is a minor criticism of what is a truly hilarious film.



Premonitions in paperback - click to order

VideoVista copyright © 2001 - is published by PIGASUS Press