THE HANGOVER – Don’t You Dare Miss It!

How many ways can I credit it – don’t miss it, go for it, you will hang over it, laugh riot, summer shower, male bonding, etc etc. I don’t seem to remember when last I enjoyed any movie so much. I hadn’t gone with any expectations but what a tummy twister it turned out to be. In the end I couldn’t laugh any more. My stomach was aching. I earnestly wanted the movie to end not ‘cuz it was bad but my muscles couldn’t tolerate anymore strain.

I love a good laugh any day. It makes me write better and heartily. If the fare is otherwise, expectedly the writing reflects that yawn. I have seen The Hangover (TH) twice till date since its release on June 05. And both times it felt fresh. I laughed my heart out. It made me feel good as much as millions of other viewers who are thronging the theaters and making it a huge hit. It is definitely the flavor of the season.

I will see this movie again and again probably 20 or 30 or more times. I don’t care. It is totally paisa vasool fare. For the past two weeks it has topped the charts and is built-up on word of mouth. For many viewers it holds a repeat value. I will never get over this hang. But then I willingly wish to hang over it. And you will share my feelings once you view it and enjoy comedies.

Remember My Cousin Vinny (1992) and Old School (2003). They made us laugh our guts out. TH is a continuation of similar familiar laughter. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. I say hearty laughter always keeps diseases away. So, this one is pure fun in the right earnest.

The cast is fairly new. Many among us may find them as unknown faces and unknown names. But that’s the beauty of this movie. With no big names to rest on, it sails through with the help of situational comedy. And the expressions of these characters are out of this world. There are no build-ups, no melodrama. There are no publicity gimmicks and not much promotional activities. And thank God for that. The movie works on its own. It doesn’t need any props.

The critics are raving about it. The public is going gaga over it. The producers are laughing their way to the bank. It is an overall win-win situation. So let’s say amen to that and know about the movie.

The storyline is fairly simple. It all takes place between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Angelenos Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) will be marrying Tracy Garner (Sasha Barrese) in two-day time. And the bachelor boy wishes to go ahead with a stag party for a day with his three friends. So, his two friends – Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper) and Stu Price (Ed Helms) along with Tracy’s brother Alan Garner (Zack Galifianakis) drive away for fun to Las Vegas.

It is actually an escape for the three friends from their existing relationships. They seem to be breathing the air of freedom away from the stifling relationships. Although Phil is married and a high school teacher, he craves for friends’ company and is quite boyish in nature. Stu is a dentist, who is ‘entangled’ with a possessive girlfriend Melissa (Rachael Harris). She doesn’t approve of anything he does especially this getaway. He has been advised against marrying her but he nevertheless wishes to propose to her.

And the fun begins in right earnest with Alan, who has to seriously take a crash course in social graces. He is far removed from any social circle. So, you get the picture now. With such a diverse friend circle, things are bound to happen and not in the right order.

Things go fine till their arrival. And after the party that night when they wake up the next morning, they have the worst hangover. They get the shock of their life when they find their room turned over with things missing and a baby and a tiger in the room.

To their horror they find Doug to be missing. They must find the soon-to-be groom. And there begins the drama and the fun. It turns out to be a merry-go-round. Where is Doug and what did he do in the time he was missing from his room? Does he make to his own wedding? How do the friends find him?

There is police trouble too when they hijack a cop car. That is not all. The drug don wants his money back that he thinks these three are holding.

Stu overnight gets married to Jade (Heather Graham), a hooker, in his drunken stupor at a chapel. The baby is hers. Stu finds his soul mate in Jade. Mike Tyson too arrives to claim his tiger.

As the movie proceeds, the going-ons become weirder. The road to finding Doug leads to funny situations that are worth watching than describing. That one night makes the three friends exhale and be happy. Their lives take a turn for the better.

The credit for this mad comedy rests with the director Todd Phillips and writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. Watch out for the socially inept Zack Galifianakis. He will soon become a well-known name and a familiar face. He takes after Jack Black or may be even better. Whatever, he is simply superb.

One night out and away couldn’t have been so madly funny. That is why many sanely and sagely advise against stag parties. I wouldn’t if it turns out to be rib-breaking fun like this one. Good news is there is a sequel coming out next year. What more could one ask for. But before the sequel, deal with this one. It should keep you going for a year.

Some movies just walk into your heart without even knocking and make their presence felt. This one is it. Go for it with your heart open to have fun and lung collapsing laughter. This is one hangover you will ever hang over to. Makes me realize I am on my way to view it the third time. Oo la la.

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