Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Movie Review
    — The Hangover

The Hangover is the last of the films I saw on the loooong flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.

The basic plot is that a group of buddies do a bachelor party in Las Vegas.  The next morning, they wake up to find the room trashed, the groom-to-be missing, and none of them can remember what the heck went on.  So they spend the entire next day trying to piece things together via what few clues they can find, leading them to a hospital visit, an impromptu marriage, a stolen tiger, a visit from Mike Tyson, and a run-in with a gay Asian gangster.

  • There was lots of stuff shown in the hotel room — the beer can pyramid, the suspended bench, etc. — that never got explained or referenced.  Arguably, that was just scene setting, but based on the rest of the film (and the photo montage at the end of the missing hours), they didn’t spend enough time in the room to do any of that stuff.  (But we’re not supposed to worry about stuff like that.)
  • Initially, I thought (hoped) they were going to do a comedy version of Memento, where they recover the most recent activity, which leads them back to the one before that, to the one before that, and so on, with only the stuff that happened just after their rooftop toast finally clicking everything into place.  I suppose that amount of layering would be hard to sustain in a comedy, though.  Pity.
  • Time is the biggest problem of the film, of course.  Anyone who has been to Las Vegas knows that just going from one casino to the next takes 30 minutes because these things are so huge, and that doesn’t change whether you are driving or walking.  Now add in the antics at the strip club, the acquisition of the tiger (including just finding Tyson’s home), and there isn’t enough time in the night for all the stuff to have happened.  (But we’re not supposed to worry about stuff like that.)
  • Speaking of time, could they have made the Sunday morning drive from Las Vegas to the wedding in Los Angeles in the two hours implied in the movie?  Mmmm, maybe, but its a stretch.  Google Maps says it’s a 4.5 hour drive.  Assuming no traffic (and no cops!) and the wedding site actually closer to Riverside, driving at an average speed of 120 mph would do it in a couple hours.  But that’s really really dicey.  (Jesus Christ, would you stop worrying about stuff like that!  It’s just a fucking movie!  And a comedy at that!)
  • The Asian gangster character was offensive.  But no more so than the rest of the movie.  No, I take that back: the recurring pedophilia references for the one character, those were more offensive that the rest of the movie put together.  I was embarrassed for the film every time that running joke reared its head.

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