The Hangover

by Rick Grant
Grade: B / Rated R / 100 min
It’s off to Vegas and wild times for this quartet of groomsmen who are giving their buddy, Doug (Justin Bartha) a bachelor party he’ll never forget. Ah, but the point is one of the guys buys the wrong drug, rofanol (the date-rape drug) and they wake up after the first night and can’t remember a thing. Their $4,000 a night suite is trashed and there is a live tiger in the bedroom. Worse still, the groom, Doug is missing.
Thus, the clever premise involves the four disheveled bachelor partiers trying to find out what happened to Doug, who doesn’t answer his cell and no one has seen him. The wedding is in three days. So, the story unfolds as a mystery as the clueless partiers with memory block look for clues based on their wild night.
Skillfully directed by Todd Phillips with a funny script written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore that reveals its secrets gradually and with hilarity as the bumbling booze hounds investigate their missing groom.
Of course, Doug is missing and the other three hungover guys nervously reach out to the hotel staff for answers. Stu (Ed Harris from The Office) is a dentist with a fussy girlfriend. He wakes up and discovers to his horror he is mysteriously missing a tooth. It’s his credit card that is being drained by the bachelor partiers’ extravagant night and next day of looking for Doug. Stu lied to his girlfriend, a mean bitch, who scares him to death. He lives in dread fear she will find out about his night of debauchery in Vegas.
As the trio of ad hoc detectives search for Doug, they end up in a stolen police car, meet a stripper, Jade (Heather Graham) who says she married Stu during that night of partying. They also ran afoul of an Asian gang who wants their 80 grand back that they claim the wasted dudes stole from them. The whacked out louts also end up with a baby, who actually belongs to Jade.
The way the story develops leaves many loose ends and still there is no sign of Doug. His fiancee is getting nervous and Phil (Bradley Cooper) tries to assure her they will be on time for the wedding. Their fat friend, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) takes control of the baby, but his brain has shutdown after his night of booze and drugs.
During the groomsmen’s investigation they discover the tiger belongs to Mike Tyson (the boxer) and they discover they stole it from his mansion. Now he wants it back or else. Well, no one messes with Mike Tyson and lives to tell about it. So, the gang figures out a plan to return the tiger.
The comedic bits are unabashedly raunchy. At the end of the film the gang discovers they have a photo record of their lost night. As the credits roll, the audience can see what happened “that” night. It’s pure guys gone wild images, featuring whores galore and uninhibited craziness. The groomsmen agree to look at the photos once and delete them for the common good.
In a red herring scene the trio of detectives think they are paying the Asian gang their 80 grand to get Doug back, but it’s the wrong Doug-a black Doug. So, time is running out, and the wedding may have to be delayed or cancelled. It’s not what the groomsmen had in mind when dumb Alan got the wrong drugs from black Doug and caused a complete memory blackout.
The fact that the story happens after the night of wicked sin as the gang investigates the disappearance of the groom, Doug creates the comedic premise. As the gang finds out little snippets of the shocking things they did, it creates the anticipation of what’s to come. Given this overworked genre, director Phillips and his cast pulled off a memorable comedy.