'Hangover' Is Stupid, Profane And Genuinely Funny

NPR movie critic Bob Mondello chuckles over the new comedy The Hangover. It's about a group of friends who wake up after a Las Vegas bachelor party to discover a tiger in their hotel room, a baby in the closet, a missing groom — and no memory of what went on the night before.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

JACKI LYDEN, host:

�The Hangover� is a new movie about a bachelor party so wild that the next morning, when the party guys wake up in a trashed Vegas hotel suite, no one can remember a thing.

(Soundbite of movie, �The Hangover�)

Unidentified Man (Actor): (As character) Do not go in the bathroom.

Mr. BRADLEY COOPER (Actor): (As Phil Wenneck) Yeah, we throw some (unintelligible).

Unidentified Man: (As character) Phil, there is a tiger in the bathroom.

Mr. COOPER: (As Phil Wenneck) What's going on?

Unidentified Man: (As character) There's a jungle cat in the bathroom.

Mr. COOPER: (As Phil Wenneck) Okay. Okay. I'll check it out.

Unidentified Man: (As character) Don't go in. Be careful. Don't go.

(Soundbite of a tiger's roar)

Mr. COOPER: (As Phil Wenneck) Wait, he's not kidding. There's a tiger in there.

Unidentified Man: (As character) Yeah.

LYDEN: Sounds like a premise for a raucous guy comedy if ever there was one. So we decide to bring in our own raucous guy, movie critic Bob Mondello...

BOB MONDELLO: Oh, my.

LYDEN: ...to talk about the movie.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: Hi.

MONDELLO: I'm not feeling terribly raucous but okay.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LYDEN: We can work on that.

MONDELLO: Okay. Well, I'll be happy to.

LYDEN: And this movie will help. So let me get it straight. Four guys have a bachelor party, three wake up with a tiger in the hotel suite, and I guess the groom is missing.

MONDELLO: That's right. And there's also a baby in the closet, and Stu is missing a tooth; one of the guys there. And they were all going through their pockets the next day because they're trying to figure out what. They don't remember anything, and so they're going through pockets. They're trying to find something that will give them clues. And they find a bill for $800, I think, was to a wedding chapel. They find the tooth.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: And among the other things they find is some evidence that one of them was in a hospital. And they follow the hospital thread and that gets them to a wedding chapel. And there, they've discovered that one of them has gotten married. And so they track down the bride and happily, the baby is hers.

(Soundbite of movie, �The Hangover�)

Ms. HEATHER GRAHAM (Actress): (As Jade) I'm going to go clean him off. That's all right, daddy didn't mean it.

(Soundbite of a crying baby)

Ms. GRAHAM: (As Jade) No.

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (As character) Oh, my God.

Ms. GRAHAM: (As Jade) He was just hungry. He's fine.

Unidentified Man #1: (As character) Oh, good.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Man #1: (As character) About last night, do you remember the last time you saw Doug?

Ms. GRAHAM: (As Jade) I guess it was around 1:00 because I had to go back to work and finish my shift. And then when I got out, I headed to over to the hotel with Tyler.

Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (As character) I have a question. You said when your shift ended, does that mean you're a nurse or a blackjack dealer?

Ms. GRAHAM: (As Jade) You know this, I'm a stripper.

Unidentified Man #2: (As character) Mm hmm.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: So they're now married and he has to deal with that. And all of this happens in, like, the first 25 minutes. And it's not the kind of comedy that I'm usually very favorable about. Because on some level it is just about jokes, right?

LYDEN: Right.

MONDELLO: But this one, for some reason, works better than most of them. It's just, it's funny.

LYDEN: Well, it looked funny to me. And it's a guy film, �Pineapple Express,� �Superbad,� you know, you think Judd Apatow, did he have anything to do with this movie?

MONDELLO: I don't think so. It's directed by a guy name Todd Phillips who made a picture called �Old School� a couple of years ago that was widely well-received by the 18-year-old boy set. Right? It's funny. It had Will Farrell in it.

In general, he makes very clever movies that are cleverer than their premises, in a way. And I think that's what he's done again. This is, sort of one of his predecessors is something like �Animal House.� Except this is �Animal House� for the young married set.

LYDEN: You know, sometimes you just need a movie and that a lost weekend. I think it looks like a last one.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: �The Lost Weekend,� now there is the other - that's the other way of looking at this is drunken jamboree.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONDELLO: It is stupid. It's profane. The language in it is just awful. There's a reason that it got an R-rating. And it's genuinely a funny movie. It's worth it.

LYDEN: And there's a cameo by Mike Tyson.

MONDELLO: This is true.

LYDEN: Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Bob Mondello is our movie critic, talking with us about the new movie �Hangover,� one we might not have expected but that makes it all the better, Bob.

MONDELLO: Totally true.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

'The Hangover': A Night To (Not) Remember

Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha in 'The Hangover' i i

Dumb, Dumber, Drunk And Drunker: Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) head to Sin City with plans for an off-the-hook stag party in Doug's honor. Warner Bros. Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Warner Bros. Pictures
Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha in 'The Hangover'

Dumb, Dumber, Drunk And Drunker: Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) head to Sin City with plans for an off-the-hook stag party in Doug's honor.

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Hangover

  • Director: Todd Phillips
  • Genre: Shock-jock comedy
  • Running Time: 100 minutes

Rated R: Profanity, male nudity, urination, sexual act, cartoonish violence, drug and alcohol abuse

With: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha

Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper in 'The Hangover' i i

Viva Las Vegas: After losing the groom — and all memory of the night before — Phil, Stu and Alan embark on an epic quest to reconstruct events and find the errant husband-to-be. Frank Masi/Warner Bros. Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Frank Masi/Warner Bros. Pictures
Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper in 'The Hangover'

Viva Las Vegas: After losing the groom — and all memory of the night before — Phil, Stu and Alan embark on an epic quest to reconstruct events and find the errant husband-to-be.

Frank Masi/Warner Bros. Pictures
Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper in 'The Hangover' i i

The Morning After: Stu and Phil find a clue in the car trunk. Frank Masi/Warner Bros. Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Frank Masi/Warner Bros. Pictures
Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper in 'The Hangover'

The Morning After: Stu and Phil find a clue in the car trunk.

Frank Masi/Warner Bros. Pictures

The Hangover, Hollywood's most destructive stag-party trip to Las Vegas since 1998's Very Bad Things, works backward from a morning-after shambles that's amusingly surreal. But this bad-boy comedy runs out of laughs long before it's reconstructed the things its four protagonists shouldn't have done during the night they can't remember.

In two days, Doug (Justin Bartha) will marry Tracy (Sasha Barrese), who's rich, pretty and otherwise uncharacterized. The groom heads to Vegas with best pals Phil (Bradley Cooper), a mischievous schoolteacher, and Stu (Ed Helms), an uptight dentist.

Also included is Alan (Zach Galifianakis), a deeply troubled fat guy who's invited only because he's Tracy's brother — and because all contemporary gross-out comedies require a deeply troubled fat guy.

The timid member of this "wolf pack" is Stu, who's so terrified of his live-in girlfriend that he's told her the friends are going to Napa Valley. Stu's polar opposite is Alan, who crows, "I don't care if we kill somebody."

Since that's what happened in Very Bad Things, it's an easy bet that director Todd Phillips (Old School, Road Trip) will probably offer a different course of shock-comedy treatment.

After a time-lapse shot of the Vegas skyline dispenses with their fateful night within a few seconds, the guys awake in a Caesars Palace suite that's been seriously trashed. At large amid the devastation: a chicken, a baby and a tiger.

Also, Phil is wearing a hospital ID bracelet, Stu is missing a tooth, and all three guys have no recollection of the night before. Three? Oh yeah: Doug's missing.

The quest to find Doug, salvage his imminent wedding and figure out just what happened leads Phil, Stu and Alan to a hospital, a police station, a wedding chapel, the desert and a casino or two.

Along the way, the trio are beaten by Chinese gangsters, Tasered by playfully sadistic cops and threatened by Mike Tyson (who hasn't learned much about acting from playing himself in several James Toback films).

Just to show that there can be advantages to a Vegas meltdown, the guys also meet Jade (Heather Graham), a sweet-natured stripper and escort. Apparently, not all women are emasculating harpies — just the ones who aren't hookers.

Jammed with fragments of rock and pop songs, many of them used with ironic intent, The Hangover tries to simulate the sensation of being hopelessly confused and still a bit groggy. But the director doesn't demonstrate the visual imagination that might sell that notion; even at its trippiest, the movie remains a sitcom.

One major problem is that, fairly early in the men's investigation, a doctor reveals the chemical cause of their blacked-out behavior. This is central, so the story deflates when the disclosure makes no sense. Without spoiling the plot, let's just say that any amateur pharmacologist could have devised a more likely scenario.

The doc might just as well have turned to the camera and said simply, "Why did you morons lose your minds? Because otherwise we wouldn't have a movie!"

Maybe the makers of middle-aged-teenager comedies should agree on the existence of a new drug — call it doltosterone — that explains everything their characters do. Then viewers could just shrug, and say: "What happens in bad-boy movies, stays in bad-boy movies."

Related NPR Stories

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.