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"The Hangover"

Directed by Todd Phillips.
Written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.
Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha.
Release Year:  2009
Review Date:  6/19/09


Great trailer, great pedigree (Todd Phillips also directed the now-classic "Old School" and "Road Trip"), great idea...and then, maybe the funniest credits idea of all time.  "The Hangover" delivers and I'm already excited to add it to the cable rotation when it starts airing non-stop next summer.

Four thirty-something guys head to Vegas for a bachelor party, hilarity ensues, the movie ends.  But, what makes this roadie special is the three-man lead; groomsmen Phil (Bradley Cooper, who has been showing up everywhere), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) take their friend Doug (Justin Bartha, from the "National Treasure" films) and get completely hammered during a wild night all over Vegas.  The next day, Doug is missing...and, using their admittedly-weak powers of logic and the fact that someone drugged them during their wild night, Phil, Stu and Alan embark on an adventure that they will never forget.

Much of this is found in the trailer, but mixing this with non-stop profanity and crude humor makes "The Hangover" laugh-out-loud funny.  And, like Phillips's other big films, there are a half-dozen major movie moments (hey, what's that noise in the trunk?  hey, did that girl just say "suck my d***?") mixed with another rich mix of supporting bit players, a great soundtrack, and having just come back from Vegas, a lot of great Vegas scenery.

I have not seen Helms and Galifianakis in other films, but this is another testament to the magic of Phillips's direction; just give credit where credit is due--the guy has figured out the group-of-guys-fuck-everything-up genre, and he always seems to have the perfect mix of straight men, a guy who is beaten down by his wife, and the "wild-and-crazy guy."  Part of me wishes that Phillips would only make these kinds of films; his "Starsky & Hutch" remake was not very good, and "School for Scoundrels" tanked at the box office.  But, here, in his element, Phillips makes "The Hangover" shine.

Now I know why some people have been saying they would see this one again...great, funny stuff!!

Rating:  Opening Weekend


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 06/19/09