Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham
Director: Todd Phillips
Runtime: 100 min.
I think McLovin is one of the great comic characters of our times, and maybe The Hangover, a frat comedy drenched in self awareness and not-so-subtle references (Rainman, Three Men and a Baby) is one of the first movies to acknowledge that idea. Amongst its many in-jokes is one of those clichéd dorky characters, a dentist named Stu played by Mr. Helms, who bears a striking resemblance to the adult version of Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Right down the spectacles. It could be a coincidence, but then Superbad is a pretty hilarious film and the Apatow factory do churn out some real warm and super-funny movies. This film isn’t one. Not one bit.
The Hangover, which is the umpteenth movie based on the age-old predicament of an adult male indulging in adolescent excursions and churning out silly adventures, is not exactly a raunch-fest but is suitably raunchy to arouse your curiosity. It is based on a rather interesting premise. Doug’s (Mr. Bartha, the wisecracker laugh-bomber from those awfully unfunny National Treasure movies) is about to get married. He and his friends, Stu and Phil (Mr. Cooper), and a mini-retard Alan, played by Comedy Central stand-up Mr. Galifianakis, decide to go to Vegas to celebrate the bachelor party. They book a suite at the Caesar’s Palace, manage their way to the roof, have a shot of alcohol (was it lager, ale, I don’t remember?) and night passes over to welcome the dawn. And morning. And sunlight. And the grand suite is now a place where furniture has been ramshackled, there’s a tiger in the bathroom, there’s a couch on smoke, there’s cock and the group is minus Doug. And the guys were so stoned the night before they don’t remember a thing. Absolutely nothing. Not even how Stu, the dentist, is minus an incisor. Not even how they are now in possession of a baby.
This is the setup for you, and it provides The Hangover the perfect ruse to unleash a lazily structured set of episodes that loosely resemble an adventure. Every person they meet quite conveniently redirects them to the next piece of the puzzle, and I know, I’m not analyzing Memento here. So let us just say the plot is is merely an obligation, and cut to chase and say the film is far from a riot. I mean, there’s a whole lot of two places where I could actually muster a laugh, and a couple of others, give or take one, where I felt the need to smile. Oh, if a retard holding a baby’s hand and miming him to masturbate is the kind of humor that you find funny, this might in fact turn out to be a riot for you. I’m not sure it is my thing, and even if it is a retard, I’m not sure it cuts with me. It used to, when I was in high school, but not any longer. Maybe it would have if I would have cared for the retard, but I couldn’t. The thing is that these bunch of guys are a bunch of losers, and the film fails to make them likeable in any which way. Outside of Mr. Galifianakis, who provided for the only two laughs for which I’m immensely grateful, the actors are seriously challenged when it comes to comic timing. They yell a lot, and that’s about it. There’s a cameo by Mike Tyson, and it’s embarrassing. The guy can’t act and he feels lost, and the film yells around him. There’s an Oriental gangster thrown into the mix too, and let us just say I wouldn’t mind if the parts involving him were somehow unwatched in my mind. Speaking of which, I wouldn’t necessarily mind unwinding it all, and by some miracle I forget it all. It is a tiresome film, and at 100 minutes, it is probably a full twenty minutes too long. This is a comedy that is overflowing with sitcom-ish situations, and a series of jokes that just don’t stick. In its clichéd female characters, , who’re either bitches or bimbos, it reeks of the same unimaginative gender-generalization that flows through films like Sex and the City. I’m not sure there’s much I want to say about this utterly mediocre film other than the suggestion of a little training at the Apatow factory on how it ought to be done. Oh yeah, and that half the films out there handing out the so-called clever references are mere pretenders.
Posted by Satish Naidu at 3:37 AM