At first glance this looked like just another film for idiot men. You know the sort of film – gratuitous boob shots, jokes involving fat people and bodily fluids, a plot that revolves around someone wanting to bone someone and a reliance on stereotypes or casual racism to elicit laughs. Between fart gags. The type of men these films are aimed at are thick faced, gel-haired morons who seriously read the Sun and Nuts magazine, and the sight of a woman bending over in a thong causes them to clap their hands in meaty delight. Between farts.
This is how I dismissed The Hangover, based on its trailer with strippers and a convicted rapist (hilarious!) But then a weird thing started to happen. People were recommending it to me. People who weren’t meat fisted, thick-faced morons. Curiosity and a desire for entertainment lead me to watch it, expectations upgraded from “pile of shite” to “unexpected comedy greatness”. Damn you expectations, because armed with the former I would have been very pleasantly surprised.
The Hangover is not the hair-brained turd-stool that you might think. Four friends go off to Vegas for a stag do, and three of them wake up with limited memories, some unexpected guests and a missing groom. It becomes a whodunit mystery as they piece their night back together again. With a writing team who worked on such gems as Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and Four Christmases, and a director who brought us Old School and Starsky and Hutch, it’s no wonder this isn’t a hair-brained turd. And every wonder it’s more like a slightly unsatisfying digestive biscuit.
Yes, this has a little more to it than the usual, but it still brings out the old favourites to get a laugh. Naked old people (ha ha, they’re old and flabby!), foreign people (ha ha, they can’t pronounce things!) and bodily fluids (ha ha, it’s spunky!) all get a turn. Then there’s the great void of female characterisation, the main women being either a) a stripper, b) a moany bride to be, or c) a naggy cow, who of course is the one who wears glasses. Not that the men aren’t left out either, our main trio being token hot guy who’s a bad boy who learns to be good, token dweeby guy who learns to be kerr-azy, and token hairy guy who’s a bit weird.
But hey, sometimes all people want is to be entertained, right? And The Hangover can do that, its plot intriguing enough, and dealt with smartly enough, to keep you hooked throughout. Laughs may have been amplified if the trailer hadn’t ruined half the main surprises, or if your reviewer hadn’t watched it in a semi-comatose state with a very irritating person in front who fits the female equivalent of the meat-faced men described above.
So, not half as terrible as at first perceived, but disappointing based on the recommendations, The Hangover jiggles around the ratings and settles on a basic CF0. It’s enjoyable enough without raising the roof, and probably not best to watch it while suffering from the title condition…