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The Hangover

I am not a fan of raunchy comedies, by and large, but this one won me over completely. The overall premise may not sound fresh—four guys going to Vegas for an anything-goes bachelor party—but screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore keep pulling…

surprises out of their hat. Their story is surprisingly dense and well-plotted, and director Todd Phillips never lets the energy wane for a moment. Perhaps the strongest ingredient in this successful mixture is casting. The actors are all experienced, but they aren’t playing characters we’ve seen them do over and over again. Bradley Cooper as the so-called smart one, Ed Helms as the straitlaced member of the group, Zach Galifianakis as the social bull in a china shop, and Justin Bartha as the relatively innocent groom hit just the right notes. The characters they meet during their unexpectedly eventful stay in Sin City are equally colorful and funny, from Heather Graham as a stripper-bride to Mike Tyson as himself.

I’m wary of any comedy that sets out to be “outrageous,” as it often seems all other considerations are sacrificed in the pursuit of that goal…but The Hangover delivers on its promise. It’s clever, original, and very, very funny.

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September 2020
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