Dude, oh my god

The Hangover is so funny, you just might wet yourself

GOING DOWN<br>It’s lowbrow all the way, but <i>The Hangover</i>’s outrageousness is good, dirty fun.

It’s lowbrow all the way, but The Hangover’s outrageousness is good, dirty fun.

The Hangover
Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha and Heather Graham. Directed by Todd Phillips. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated R.
Rated 4.0

The Hangover was cry-laugh good. What else is there to say, really? There were several moments when I laughed so hard I cried … and might have even almost peed a little.

The story begins with four guys heading to Vegas for one night of wild-oats sowing. Actually, that’s not where it begins. This story begins near the end, with one member of the bachelor party (Bradley Cooper), dirty and bleeding by the side of a desert road, telling a dressed-and-ready bride via cell phone that they’ve lost the groom (Justin Bartha).

In fact, we never really see the wild night that leads to the hangover. Instead, after the intro, we jump back to the morning after and learn the extent of the night’s debauchery via the unbelievable consequences that unfold as the three who remain search for their buddy during the party’s two-day aftermath.

The motley trio is made up of the groom’s two best friends—a crude pretty boy played by the fittingly cocksure Cooper and a seriously p-whipped dentist played with characteristic lovable-schmuck charm by The Office’s Ed Helms—and his slobbish and slightly unhinged future brother-in-law Alan (comedian Zach Galifianakis).

Director Todd Phillips has returned to his Old School hilarity here, piling on the wonderfully tasteless and often physically painful gags as the picture of what was a bar-setting Vegas bachelor party comes into focus. The unveiling of details is where the fun is, so I won’t give anything away other than to say that strippers, drugs and gambling are the tame parts. (In fact, the true measure of how deep into the muck the audience is willing to dive might be a fairly shocking—yet cringingly funny—gag involving a baby found in the hotel closet the day after. Step over that line, and there’s no going back.)

The fun here isn’t solely dependent on individual gags, though. There’s also fun to be had in the interplay among these oddballs and the charming chemistry that develops among them during their increasingly tense quest for the lost groom. Galifianakis’ character does stand out, though. His treatment of the bearded, drugged-out, sensitive soul who is at once the wildest and sweetest of the group is the most fully formed and provides the most resonant comedic moments.

Like Something About Mary or The 40-Year-Old Virgin, water-cooler word-of-mouth will blow up the minor yet hilarious scenes, creating the kind of buzz that equals repeat business in the theater and empty shelves at the video store. I’m not saying The Hangover is as good as those two—the writing isn’t as strong, and the overall concept isn’t as fleshed-out—but you will definitely laugh as much as you did with either of those, maybe even more.