Hangover, The (UK - BD)
Marcus also went to the bachelor party but had more fun than Chris Gould did...
Two days before his wedding, Doug (Justin Bartha) and best friends Phil and Stu (Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms) plus future brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis) drive to Las Vegas for a full blown ‘What ever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ bachelor party. The next day the three groomsmen awake with a killer hangover, a totally trashed penthouse apartment and no memory of the previous night. Worse still, the groom has gone missing!
The odds were well and truly against The Hangover. Todd Phillips hadn't had a hit for a while, the cast were all relatively unknown (especially on the big screen), and let’s face it, out of the million and one bachelor party movies there are out there, about ninety eight percent suck. Yet somehow, The Hangover emerged as an unexpected big hitter that shot its way towards the five hundred million mark at the box office.
From my first viewing of this movie back in June to my third revisit here, I’ve gotta say that I enjoy almost every second of The Hangover. Todd Philips once again provides an easy to watch buddy comedy, with his own slant on R rated comedy and it's thanks in large part to this playing like the Old School sequel that had been hinted at since the first one hit our screens.
With character backgrounds slightly changed, its not a huge leap to say that Bradley Cooper is playing Vince Vaughn’s Beanie, with his ‘I hate my married life—let’s party’ attitude down to repeating the earmuffs gag with his kid. Justin Bartha is playing Luke Wilson’s straight guy Mitch in the next logical step after Old School and having him get married and of course Ed Helms's calm, pussy-whipped husband who turns into an tornado after a few drinks isn’t exactly a million miles away from Will Ferrell’s legendary Frank the Tank. All of this goes pretty well unnoticed on the first viewing until the credits roll and you start putting the pieces together. In all honesty, it could very well be why this works so well for me because I love Old School and to have another outing with these (albeit slightly different) characters is a joy.
With the Old School references put to one side, the cast here are a massive part of what makes this work so well. The combination of these tonally different actors totally worked for me and all come with their own set of laughs. Cooper's incredibly cocky attitude to everything is a blast and turns out to be a great character to keep everything moving along, no matter how messed up things get. Ed Helms plays a fantastic whiner, whose sarcastic comments and meltdowns always worked and of course there’s Zach Galifianakis, who for me is worth his weight in gold here.
Galifianakis was a complete unknown to me going in, but he soon became the absolute standout and really the much needed fresh performance that makes The Hangover stand out from the crowd. So many of the laughs are down to him, everything from his satchel comment (Indiana Jones has one), his speech about not being a lone wolf anymore and his pronunciation of retard (ret-ard) are all great moments and even his general presence on screen seems to makes me laugh (and it’s not because he’s fat).
Also it has to be worth mentioning the supporting cast here. For starters the cameo from Mike Tyson is a blast and despite seeing the ‘In the air tonight’ clip umpteen times in the trailer it still manages to be effective on repeat viewing. Ken Jeong can’t help but make me laugh in all of his film roles, but here he’s on comedy fire, with line after line of chuckles, and last of all Heather Graham is such a delight in movies of late that I’m beginning to think that even if she appeared in a harrowing World War II drama she'd still put a goofy ‘she’s great isn’t she’ grin on my face.
I was quite surprised that the colour here was presented quite naturally. No overblown reds or pinks were on show, no glowing skin tones and no massively over-lit interiors or brightly lit Vegas exteriors. Everything just retains that very nice looking movie feel and doesn’t look at all like most of the colour boosted modern comedies out there on the HD format.
Admittedly, there’s nothing really to hype beyond that, with pretty standard detail levels, good black levels and a very clean almost grain free transfer doing its job well, just without any bells and whistles.
Pretty much the entire movie's audio track lives in the front speakers providing clear dialogue, good solid musical numbers and any little thump and bump used in the sound effects department. I’m in total agreement with Chris in that there are no memorable or stand out moments in the track and really the only good thing to say is that the audio is solid throughout, even if it’s only limited to doing its job.
'Picture-in-Picture Commentary' has Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifinakis and Todd Philips appearing in a video window at the bottom right of the screen to talk about the theatrical version of the film. I found this to be a thoroughly satisfying commentary with some fine input from participants. Admittedly, without the visuals of them watching along it could very well have felt a little flat, but there's plenty of things going on between the four of them and even though Philips leads the way through most of the movie, small nuggets from Cooper, Helms and of course some more hearty chuckles provided from Galifinakis’s comments makes this a great addition to the movie. It’s just a shame it all gets a little weaker from here on in.
'Map of Destruction' (16:28 HD) allows you to visit the real-life locations featured in the movie, learn a little bit about their history, view some of the behind the scenes footage, and view cast and crew interview footage.
'The Madness of Ken Jeong' (07:56 HD): is basically a little under eight minutes of Ken Jeong improvising more of his character's foul-mouthed dialogue. Some of this is absolute gold and he throws a few phrases in here that will no doubt turn up in different movies because they are too good to waste.
'Action Mash-Up' (00:35 HD) allows you to watch all of the film's 'action' scenes condensed into thirty-five seconds. I'm not really sure the disc needed this at all.
'Three Best Friends Song' (01:23 HD) is just a slightly extended version of the song from the car as seen in the film and really isn’t worth it.
'The Dan Band!' (01:08 HD) is the band performing 'Fame' and frankly it's a massive disappointment. Being a massive fan of the Dan Band I was hoping for an epically long documentary on their genius, but shamefully it’s really a bit of a nothing extra.
'Gag Reel' (08:16 HD) is a pretty standard gag reel with some good laughs dotted about the eight odd minutes and 'More Pictures from the Missing Camera' (13:20 HD) is more of the photos from the film's closing credits and once again raise some chuckles from the forgotten night's events.
BD-Live: The BD-Live features promise more outrageous content and the ability to download a Digital Copy of the movie.
With a solid if albeit underwhelming A/V presentation The Hangover does a good enough job to recommend, but it really is a disapointment in the features department and I was left with a real feeling there could have been more provided (like a Dan Band documentary).
As Chris said in his review ‘Comedy is a tricky thing to get right and one man’s meat is another man’s poison’. Well, for me this one is meat. In fact it’s a big fat steak cooked to perfection and one that I want repeat courses of. But with food analogies put aside (because I’m getting hungry), The Hangover is a comedy that I enjoyed from start to finish, largely down to fine casting, great pacing and a Todd Phillips return to form.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 7th December 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Dolby Digital 5.1 German, Audio Description 2.0 Surround English
Subtitles: English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish
Extras: Extended Cut, Picture-in-Picture Commentary, Map of Destruction, The Madness of Ken Jeong, Action Mash-Up, Three Best Friends Song, The Dan Band!, Gag Reel, More Pictures from the Missing Camera, BD-Live
Easter Egg: No
Director: Todd Philips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis
Length: 108 minutes
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