Directed by: Todd Phillips
Written by: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong
Released: June 11, 2009
Grade: A-

Ever woken up with a nasty headache after an alcohol-fuelled bender?  Ever had problems remembering what you got up to the night before?  If so, here’s a film for you.

The first 20 minutes of The Hangover is relatively tame.  Four guys jump in their car and head to Las Vegas for a buck’s party.  They check in at the Caesars Palace, upgrade to a villa suite and head to their rooms to freshen up.  The night kicks off with a trip to the hotel roof.  They admire the neon-lit skyline and make a toast to Doug (Bartha), the lucky guy who will be married in less than 48 hours time.

Now, comes the fun part.  We pan roughly 10 hours into the future.  Stu (Helms) wakes up on the floor of their trashed hotel room missing one of his front teeth.  Alan (Galifianakis) is stumbling around without his pants.  Phil (Cooper) has a splitting headache.  The last thing they can remember is going to dinner.  What the hell happened?  And where is Doug?

I don’t want to say too much more about the plot because The Hangover is a great comedy with plenty of surprises.  These guys will soon learn that they had one very eventful evening.  Stu realises that pretty quickly when he goes to the bathroom and finds a live tiger looking back at him.  How is that possible?  Where did the tiger come from and how did it get in the hotel room?

They come across some equally crazy people in their search for the truth and their search for Doug.  The wedding is now only a day away and they’ve got to find him in time for the wedding.

The Hangover has been talked up as one of the sleepers of the year and that billing is well justified.  The film topped the box-office in the United States last weekend with $45m in its first three days.  That’s not bad for a low-brow comedy with no big name actors.  Maybe it’s popular because many can relate to the feeling of waking up in a confused, hungover state.

I have to digress for a moment just to point out another one of life’s odd double standards.  There’s been a lot of publicity in recent months over football players and their drunken antics.  The media frowns upon such behaviour as these people are supposed to be role models for today’s youth.  It’s such a contrast from this comedy in which we sit back and have a laugh at the times when we’ve had too much to drink and done silly things.  Every argument has a flip side, I guess.

Back to the film itself and yes, I enjoyed it immensely.  There’s no character development, hidden messages or anything remotely “emotional”.  There’s not supposed to be though.  It’s just a madcap ride where you can’t see what’s coming.  It finishes on a perfect note with a photo montage to help the audience piece it all together.  The idea of a sequel has already been floated and I’m confident that it’ll be in production very soon.