Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Hungover Review

I've been rather sick for about a week now and I've been growing tired of my television routine so today I thought I would do something a little different and watch "The Hangover" followed by "The Hangover II" and give you fine readers a couple of reviews.

The Hangover
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifiankis and Justin Bartha
Release Date: June 5, 2009

    I will always have a special place in my heart for "The Hangover" and it's partially because it lived up to all the hype I had built up in my mind. I can remember when and where I first saw the trailer and got the feeling that the movie going public would soon be in for something special. I was with some fellow store managers from Starbucks(where I was working at the time) and we were seeing "Fast & Furious". The trailer came on and the audience erupted into laughter at nearly every scene. The fact that the trailer was more memorable than the movie I went to see goes show the type of impact it had on me.

    When "The Hangover" did eventually come out I was there opening night and one hundred minutes later my comedygasm(comedy orgasm) was over and I was satisfied. I have since seen "The Hangover" countless times and it was fun revisiting it as it has been at least a year since I've last watched it.

    For the five or so people who may have not seen "The Hangover", it stars Bradley Cooper as "Phil", Ed Helms as "Stu", Zach Galifianakis as "Alan" and Justin Bartha as "Doug". "The Hangover" tells the story of four friends who go to Las Vegas for a bachelor party only find that the next morning, one of them is missing(Doug) and the other three cannot remember anything that has happened. Phil, Stu and Alan then set about trying to find Doug by retracing their steps from the night before.

      It's hard to discuss "The Hangover" without giving away the main points of laughter that are consistent throughout the movie. I will say this though, the setting of Las Vegas suits the film aptly as it lends a level of credibility to the insanity that these four friends go through.

    In addition to the superb screenplay(written by Jon Lucas, and Scott Moore) and solid direction from Todd Philips, the thing that makes this movie come alive is the cast of characters. The lead four characters have tremendous chemistry and you almost get the sense that these four individuals could be real and you root for them as they try to get back in time for Doug's wedding. Finally the locals that interact with Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug just as often steal the spotlight in this film, whether it's the owner of the local wedding chapel, the eccentric police officers or Mike Tyson, there are enough laughs for everyone.

    There really isn't anything not to like about "The Hangover". It's an original story, it's not very long, it's setting is one of the most vibrant places on earth, the characters are lovable, even the soundtrack will have you bobbing your head and most importantly IT'S FUNNY! In this day and age when there is nothing to the idea of "shock value" in comedy(despite many comedies attempting it) it's nice to see a well written comedy that relies on the basic fundamentals of comedy and executes them perfectly.

The Hangover Part II
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifiankis and Justin Bartha
Release Date: May 26, 2011

    With my self proclaimed love and admiration for"The Hangover" out of the way it may come as a surprise to you that when I heard they were making a sequel I cringed. Catching lighting in a bottle is such a hard thing to do and my fear was that they would ruin a perfectly good movie by cluttering it up with extra characters and unnecessary story-lines(much in the same way they did with Shrek). In fact I have been so against the idea that up until today I had made the decision not to see it. Which leads me to my review:

    "The Hangover Part II" picks up a few years after the first one ended. Not much has changed in the lives of our lovable drinking buddies with the exception that Stu is now engaged to a Thai women(Lauren played by Jamie Chung) and it's his turn to have a bachelor party. This time around the party takes place in Thailand and while Doug remains safe and sound in this movie, Lauren's sixteen year old brother, has gone missing after a night of partying and just a like a few years ago nobody seems to know what happened the night before. Phil, Stu and Alan then set about trying to retrace their steps and hilarity ensues.

     "Hilarity" might be a bit of an overstatement. It is not hilarious but it will make you laugh. The trouble with this movie is that it feels far too familiar. I am confident that you will notice that they even rehashed some of the same sight gags. This cannot be blamed on the actors as they are just as lovable this go around(their chemistry is the only thing that makes this movie worth watching more than once) and for that reason I feel I cannot blame the director(Todd Philips). I will however blame the writers and/or executives that put this screenplay together. That being said, I couldn't help but notice that this movie had five writers(the same two from the original and three new ones) and considering this is very much the same movie I cannot figure out what those additional writers did.

    There is a concept in economics called "The law of diminishing returns" that states "any rate of profit, production, benefits, etc., that beyond a certain point fails to increase proportionately with added investment, effort or skill." There is a similar concept in comedy, if you have one joke and continue to use it without altering the timing, delivery, or punch line eventually the joke will stop being funny. While "The Hangover Part II" does not hit the point where it is no longer funny I am concerned that by the time "Part III" is released(May 2013) we may be looking at a group of buddies we no longer want to hang around with because they keep telling the same old jokes.

No comments:

Post a Comment