The Hangover

June 22, 2009

The trailer for The Hangover got me worried. Like most comedy trailers it was going for the lowest common denominator with a bit of slapstick and some bad jokes (see the Bruno trailer for a similar offering) and I wasn’t very impressed. Yet thanks to the wonders of the Cineworld Unlimited card I knew I’d see it anyway.

I watched it. I left. I had a little think. Having given the viewing about a week to stew, I think I can safely say that I like The Hangover, but also that it was completely unremarkable and nowhere near as good as some people might have you believe. I think I should point out that I’m a big fan of American road comedies and gross out movies, what with being a man, and thought last year’s Sex Drive was criminally overlooked, so I should have been well poised to like everything about The Hangover.

The problem is that it manages to be mediocre in every way. It’s not bad, some of the jokes are good and the most laughs come from Zach Galifianakis’ infantile actions, but there’s nothing original or new. It’s not particularly crude or offensive and the premise is basically sound but executed blandly. Like Angels and Demons it ends up being more of an advert for the city it’s set in (Las Vegas) than a coherent film. As the guys try to piece together the events of the night before and the different comedic elements and situations are revealed everything feels very disjointed, and there are a couple of plot holes that will leave you asking questions. Also, Mike Tyson shouldn’t just make people laugh for being Mike Tyson. And he can’t act. But then I suppose that’s the point. Anyway, I didn’t think his cameo was that much fun.

I was smiling for much of The Hangover, and if you want some mildly distracting popcorn fodder then this is your best bet at the moment, but it was ultimately uninspiring and underwhelming from a comedic point of view. Some will totally disagree (like good old Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian here) and will think that The Hangover pitches everything just right, and perhaps on a second viewing I’ll look on it with less ambivalence. But for now, a cautious recommendation is all I can give it.


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