Todd Phillips (Old School, Starsky and Hutch) strikes comedy gold with The Hangover, now available on DVD. The film was met with critical praise when it was released this summer and is the most financially successful R-rated comedy of all time, breaking the record set by Beverly Hills Cop more than 20 years ago.
The premise of The Hangover is quite simple. Four guys head to Las Vegas for a bachelor party, and the next morning three of the guys wake up to discover the groom-to-be is missing. The guys can’t remember a single thing. Their hotel room is completely destroyed, a tiger is in their bathroom, and they find a baby in a closet. Also, one of the guys is missing a tooth. Racing against time, they must find their friend as they try to piece together what happened during their wild night.
The Hangover really works because of the chemistry of the cast. Stu is played by Ed Helms (The Office), and he is the unfortunate man who wakes up without a tooth. He plays a fantastic straight man who must juggle lying to his controlling girlfriend amidst all of the hilarious situations the trio find themselves in. Bradley Cooper (Wedding Crashers) plays Phil, a schoolteacher who is bored with his married life. Phil is a bit of a wild man, but he takes the initiative when it comes to hunting down the missing groom, Doug.
Zach Galifianakis really shines as Alan, Doug’s brother-in-law to be. Alan is very socially awkward with the other three best friends. Galifianakis takes advantage of this opportunity to flex his comedic muscle as he steals scene after scene with hilarious lines. Over the course of the movie Stu, Phil, and Alan bond in their search for Doug, and watching these three play off of one another is a lot of fun.
Ken Jeong (Community) plays Mr. Chow, a flamboyant gangster who crosses paths with the guys during their night of madness. Mike Tyson and a few other Vegas mainstays have cameos as well.
This DVD features both the unrated and theatrical cuts of the film, and the unrated version is about eight minutes longer. After watching the unrated version, no drastic changes from the original cut leapt out at me. It seems as if a few scenes were just extended. A commentary track featuring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Todd Phillips is included, and the jokes and insight provided definitely make it a commentary worth listening to.
Several featurettes are also available, including a "Map of Destruction" that highlights the different shooting locations the production used in Vegas and the decision-making process that was involved in selecting them. A feature called "The Madness of Ken Jeong" showcases the actor's impressive improvisation skills as he completely ad libs his dialogue. Watching the actors around him struggle to maintain composure as he drifts into absolute absurdity is outstanding. A gag reel is another highlight of the special features section, as it appears that people had just as much fun making the movie as audiences had watching it. More pictures from the missing camera that document the forgotten evening are included, but I found the contents of these pictures a bit underwhelming. A digital copy is also provided with this release.
The Hangover is an outstanding screwball comedy from start to finish. If you haven’t yet seen it, this DVD is certainly worth picking up. The jokes continue to land upon multiple viewings, and with a sequel going into production next year there is no better time to enjoy this night that no one can remember.