Last summer The Hangover was a surprise sleeper comedy hit. With an ensemble cast of comic actors known more for TV work-Ed Helms of The Daily Show and Bradley Cooper of Alias-and stand-up-Zach Galifianakis, and another iteration of the “group of people who cannot remember the night before must retrace their steps and discover their misadventures to find their car/prom date/best friend/MacGuffin who they lost” the film seemed an unlikely hit, much less the 6th highest grossing film of the year.
Watching it almost a year after its release, it is hard to see what the fuss was about. The actors exhibit good chemistry with one another and the supporting cast is good, but there just aren’t enough laugh-out-loud moments. Mostly this is a solid, if unexceptional “guys behaving badly” comedy, complete with Ed Helms shrewish, smothering, controlling, cheating girlfriend (fellow Daily Show alum Rachel Harris) and a stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold (Heather Graham, going back to the Boogie Nights well). There are no women who aren’t either non-entities or fit into these stereotypes, and that is a bit disappointing, especially as this film features a cameo from Mike Tyson, who has a long and troubling history with women. Galifianakis also misfires a bit, as he comes off more as creepy than funny when talking about how he can’t get into Chuckie Cheese or how Bin Laden ruined masturbation on airplanes.
The Hangover is a high-gloss but mediocre comedy which received more success than it deserved. The coming sequel could pull off a surprise and be better than the film that inspired it, but in all likelihood it will be just more of the same.