The Hangover (2009)
Directed by Todd Phillips
As I revisit “The Hangover,” what might be perhaps the best comedy of the 21st Century (let the counterarguments roll in!), I’m reminded why I fell in love with it nearly 5 years ago. Unlike most comedies, at least of the past couple decades, “The Hangover” worries less about making every line funny and worries more about making the funny lines really last. More importantly, it cares about story. It’s revolutionary!
The three best friends that anyone could have (played by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis) wake up after a bachelor party for their friend Doug (Justin Bartha) to find a baby and a tiger in their Vegas suite. They can’t remember a single thing from the past ten hours. And Doug is missing. As they try to fit together the pieces of their drunken night-before, the wolf pack encounters some speed bumps – like a surprise bride (Heather Graham), an eccentric gangster (Ken Jeong), a straight-shooting drug dealer (Mike Epps), and a knock-out cameo guest who causes some trouble. The guys will have to deal with their own clashing personalities as they race the clock to find their friend before his wedding day arrives.
Like I said, story. Comedies like “Neighbors” are absolutely hysterical. Almost every line gives us something to laugh at. But the plot is barely there – strung together, it seems, by the anticipation of the next laugh. “The Hangover” won’t make you laugh for 100 minutes. But when you laugh, you really laugh. Five years later, these lines are still quoted and these scenes are still referenced by college students and even more recent comedies. “The Hangover” is already a legend, a comedy kingpin that is unforgettable – clearly since nobody has forgotten it yet. The situations are as funny as the dialogue, and a mystery keeps audiences engaged in the plot. And “The Hangover” has a unique personality that keeps it fresh in the heads and hearts of comedy-loving cinephiles. Original character types and a memorable soundtrack don’t hurt. Heck, “The Hangover” won the Golden Globe for Best Picture (for a Musical or Comedy, obviously). The Writers Guild of America nominated it for their top prize, Best Original Screenplay. Alongside movies like “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker.” Its legacy is undisputed! Go revisit “The Hangover.” You won’t be disappointed.