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thehangover.jpg“The Hangover,” the Warner Bros. comedy about the misadventures of four men in Las Vegas for a bachelor party, was the surprise winner at the box office this weekend, taking in $45 million dollars. But, it really shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise: the trailers for the movie looked hysterical and people want to laugh in these difficult economic times.
The adult drama genre, a.k.a. those Oscar contending films, is suffering terribly right now, as Entertainment Weekly points out in this week’s issue. The Soloist producer Gary Foster, who saw his film languish at the box office, posits that, “Audiences don’t want to be reminded of the darkness in the world.”
Personally, I think the same applies to “dark” action films: note the difference in box office between the dark and dystopian “Terminator: Salvation” and the fun and fresh “Star Trek.”
Directed by Todd Phillips (“Old School”), “The Hangover” follows three groomsmen who lose the groom-to-be after a night of Vegas debauchery that none of them can remember when they wake the next morning in their wrecked hotel suite. Hijinks and hilarity ensue as the three mismatched musketeers try to retrace their every movement from the night before, including a hot night at the blackjack table a la “Rainman” and a run in with Mike Tyson’s pet tiger.


“Better than ‘Citizen Kane’ and Maybe Even ‘Step Brothers'” read the headline of Rolling Stone Contributing Editor David Wild’s brief review of the comedy on Huffington Post. While I’m not willing to go that far, the movie did have several lulls and I found Bradley Cooper’s (“Alias,” “Wedding Crashers”) character Phil to be rather unlikable, even if he was easy on the eyes. Stand-up comedian Zach Galifianakis’ eccentric man-child provided some of the best one-liners of the year, but it’s Ed Helms of “The Office” who really proves himself to be a comedic movie star.
Without giving too much of the film’s surprises away, it’s safe to say that “The Hangover,” for all of its ridiculous lewdness is, for all intents and purposes, a wholesome buddy movie, and could be read, in a way, as a romantic comedy as three of the four men are happily reunited or paired with the right woman. Unfortunately, the women in the film are merely cipheresque foils–the shrewish girlfriend, the stripper with a heart of gold, the barely-know-you bride–against which the men are meant to discover themselves and the importance of their friendship. But it’s this intractable bond between pals, with a huge dollop of junior high humor, that audiences are craving to see in these uncertain times. While not the funniest movie I’ve ever seen, “The Hangeover” my just be the cure for what ails us.
Ed Helms at LocateTV.com

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