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Friday, 31 July 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - The Hangover

And here is the final movie in The Thin White Dude's Reviews Explosion, The Hangover. Now, to give a little bit of context, this is the comedy sleeper hit of the year, which has not only made large amounts of money financially, but also has mysteriously for this type of film, garnered a fair amount of critical acclaim, with reviews such as "one of the most enjoyable comedies of the year" and "an excellent bromantic comedy" (catchy pun, ey?) being garnered upon this film. However, I feel it is time to hand me the reigns to my horse, as I ride through the deserts of the film world, and deliver my sermon from atop a mountain, what is my opinion of The Hangover. Anyway, plot is basically, three lads, each of them of varying personalities, go to Las Vegas with their friend who is getting married, and have one last night of excess before he surrenders himself to the horrors of marriage. Now, the problem, and the Macguffin of the film, is that their friend gets lost in the ensuing mayhem, and must find him before the wedding, hence the film's title. Now, I'll be fair and pragmatic here and open with what is good about the film, the script's dialogue is certainly witty and full of laughs, the kind one would associate with hanging around with a group of close friends. Each of the personalities comes across very well as a result of this dialogue. Also, and perhaps the best thing about the movie, is the role played by Zach Galifianakis. Effectively an exaggerated and comedic version of Dustin Hoffman's Raymond Babbit from Rain Man (a point smartly referenced on more than one occassion in the film), he plays this role rather well. It is no acting masterclass, but it is certainly a step ahead of the cardboard cut-out cliche that this kind of character has become, and his character is often found to gain the most laughs and most sympathy, thus he becomes more three-dimensional thanks to Galifianakis' performance. Also, some of the gags around which the movie has been clearly constructed are genuinely funny. For example, the fact that the men are lambasted with the baby in what is in many ways a pastiche of Three Men and a Baby is pulled off quite well, and is an intelligent subplot which helps tie together the film with many of the other subplots and helps each of the character's come out as distinct personalities. Also, the fact that the men cannot remember the night before at all and piece it together like a puzzle is an interesting idea, leaving the discoveries of their previous night's exploits to bring the odd gag. Which is where I start to unleash the angry Old Testament Dude. Whenever I say that there is the odd gag, I mean just that. Unfortunately for this film, which is clearly one of those "laugh out loud, we're so absolutely hilarious" films, the gags often fail to rub off and come across on me. Maybe The Hangover is an acquirred taste, but for me it is by no means an intelligent comedy. Now, for those who think when I say "intelligent" comedy I mean sophisto-satire comedies like Dr. Strangelove, I do not mean that. I think that Animal House is an intelligent comedy, which is the film which is probably responsible for this and the recent upsurge of these films, but we will get there later. To start, I said that some of the gags come across well. I think that the gag with the baby is great, the initial mystery behind the tiger is funny and the idea of them forgetting everything is smart. However, the movie does not really work on anything bar attempting to make the gags be as ridiculous and over-the-top as is possible. Words of advice to the screenwriters, they did not come across properly because you did not work on the bits in-between the "whoop-whoop" laughs, which compose of much of the film. The other two leading characters are poorly written and as a result their performances by Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms are completely unconvincing and nauseatingly boring. Also, the structure of the film is all wrong completely, causing everyone to be suspensed in space-time continuums of moments of excessive boredome and dullness. Also, Todd Phillips fails to keep control of this film, all the more proving his flaws as a director, which have come out before in his previous works, all more or less the same film. He needs to try something else as a director, because this stuff while it makes money, certainly does not make classics. What every happened to the likes of this gross-out, over-the-top comedy classics such as Animal House, American Pie and even the recent Superbad. How come a minority of films are able to thrive so well as brillaint films, and the audience are willing to eat up horrible pastiche's which do nothing more but remind them that these are not the same as those classics? I am sick and tired of the recent upsurge of these "Dude, Over-the top" comedies, because the jokes are all the same, and if they are done right, that's acceptable, but so marry fall flat on their backsides and fail, asking for mother to come and pick them up for comfort. I hate them. Also, why is Mike Tyson in the film? After having seen Tyson in which he is sick of the way people see him as a thug, in this, playing a piano and singing "In The Air Tonight" is an obvious contradiction and is sadly twistedly ironic and tragic, and punhing Zach Galifianakis in the face enforces peoples view of him as a damaged animal who is psychotic and borderline unapproachable. In conclusion, while boasted some very witty dialogue, the odd funny gag and a good performance from Galifianakis, the rest of the film is boring, the script is rubbish, the other two leads are poor, and Todd Phillips needs to reconsider his occupational position in the near future.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 4.1/10

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