Ever wonder what happened when a bunch of guys didn't realize they had a hardcore bachelor party and ended up not remembering things the next day except for a series of bad hangovers? That interesting question inspires director Todd Phillips and screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore with a high-concept comedy that is outrageously creative -- something you don't really get to see in the R-rated comedy genre these days. No doubt that THE HANGOVER is certainly one-of-the-kind cinematic experience you'll be having a great time.
Here's how the plot sounds like: Doug (Justin Bartha) is about to get married with Tracy (Sasha Barrese) in two days' time. And of course, a plan for bachelor party is inevitable. That is where his best friends, schoolteacher Phil (Bradley Cooper) and dentist Stu (Ed Heims), along with Tracy's socially awkward Alan (Zach Galifianakis), decide to treat Doug to a night in Vegas. Everything goes well at first -- from booking a fantastic suite in a Caesars Palace to having a toast on a rooftop.
But then, something unexpected happens. They wake up with a series of bad hangovers and find themselves lying in a suite completely messed up. No sooner they find a growling tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, a hospital band on Phil's wrist, a wedding ring on Stu's finger, a missing tooth in Stu's mouth and their groom-to-be Doug is missing. Worst, none of them remember what happened the night before. Time is running out for the wedding countdown. Now Phil, Stu and Alan must figure out to find Doug before it's too late.
The novelty of the premise is certainly entertaining enough. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's screenplay is filled with surprises within its whodunit-like storytelling approach played for laughs. Those particular sense of discoveries are especially fun to watch for, which will keep you guessing what actually happened to them the night before as the movie goes on. In the meantime, director Todd Phillips keep the pace frantic and the jokes raunchy (especially with all those male-butt jokes).
The cast are gamely playful enough and each of them (especially Bradley Cooper, Ed Heims and Zach Galifianakis) are bound to be A-list breakout stars. But of all, Galifianakis (man, his last name is really hard to pronounce) is a scene-stealer each time he appears.
As original and entertaining as it looks, THE HANGOVER remains quite a missed opportunity to be among the best R-rated comedy in recent memory. Most of the raunchy jokes are minor giggles at best, and the laughs aren't as hilarious as one might thought. This is especially wasted, considering a R-rated comedy can actually get as far as the filmmakers could to push the envelope. The ending, in the meantime, is kind of too sappy for its own good. Oh, by the way, stick around during the end credit as a series of photo montages will revealed what happened to them the night before.