It's funny how the worse the hangover is, the better the time was the night before. The four main characters in The Hangover are suffering from the worst hangover in their entire lives throughout the last 3/4's of the film. But this film is so funny and well done that, as I was watching it, I couldn't stop thinking about how I wish I was in one of these characters shoes right now experiencing this hangover.
Todd Phillips is best known for directing Road Trip and Old School, two films that have become modern "party film" classics. I love how Phillips is getting more mature with his films in a way that the main characters are getting older but still know how to have a great time-because that's what life is all about in the long run, having a good time, and that's what guys do. The age range for the film is 16-50 in my opinion. You can be a father of two, go and watch this film, and walk out of the theater on your cell planning your next trip to Vegas with the boys. That's how excited this film will make you. Most of the films charm comes from the four main characters, all unique in their own ways, Phil, Stu, Doug, and Doug's soon to be brother in law Alan. They're all going to Vegas a few days before Dougs wedding to have the night of their lives, and it probably would have been, if they could only remember what happened. After they lose Doug, the boys retrace their steps trying to figure out just"what the hell happened last night". It's like Memento after a bottle of whiskey. After dodging death at the little chapel house, getting knocked the fuck out by Iron Mike Tyson, and picking up your stolen cop car from the valet, they somehow figure it all out. There are so many other crazy things that go down, but you'll have to see for yourself.
This film is a huge career boost for Bradley Cooper, previously seen in Wedding Crashers, who plays Phil. He nails the role right on the head as a sleazy school teacher who can't let the party life go. But a family man with a heart as well, as we learn at the end of the film. A man I think many men out there can relate to. The main message in The Hangover is that friends stick together. They stick together through family ties, through sons and daughters, through girlfriends, fiances, good and bad times, and they still know how to have a good time. Cheers. 4 and 1/2 stars.