The Hangover Review

The Hangover ends with a series of pictures over the end credits, finally letting everyone in on what happened to the group of four bachelor party attendees during a drunken, drugged stupor in Las Vegas. They may very well be the funniest part of Hangover, thanks to some wonderful cameos, inventive raunch, shocks, and relief in knowing what happened.

Before that, the film wisely builds a mystery as to why Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) is lost after a hard night of partying. The Hangover is wonderfully written, developing individual characters out of Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and a show stealing performance from Zach Galifianakis as the oddball out.

Hangover builds its laughs, choosing not to overload the audience, but deliver small giggles before unloading a completely nude Ken Jeong onto Bradley Coopers face, who takes it like a champ for maximum comedic efficiency.

The film is filled with implausible scenarios, such as Mike Tyson visiting the hotel suite to pick up his tiger held up in the bathroom (it was one of those kind of nights), but then telling the crew to bring it back to his place. Or, staying in the room while a doctor who treated them the night before gives a physical to an old man in full view of the audience.

The Hangover exists in that parallel comedy universe where anything is possible, but because you’re laughing too hard, is all plausible. Who cares how a chicken made its way into the suite? Who cares that grade school children are being taught how to use stun guns on people? Who cares that a side-impact car accident would have likely killed all involved?

The point of the movie is to laugh at the increasing absurdity of the scenario, slowly revealing how far out of control the previous night was. That is a joke in and of itself.

This one probably wouldn’t work without the right cast handling a script by co-writers Scott Moore and Jon Lucas. Thankfully, the mismatched group of partiers are perfect, and even if Zach Galifianakis is destined to become the most memorable of the group, at least we all know they didn’t give out rings at the Holocaust.

Movie ★★★★★ 

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Warner delivers a weak, low bit-rate VC-1 encode for The Hangover, a trend that needs to stop. The encode, while delivering a slightly stronger third act (beginning with the casino run), is typically soft and lackluster. Textures are poorly defined, and high fidelity detail, such as facial pores and stitching on clothing, are nearly non-existent.

Flickering is evident on any complex pattern, first noted just past the half-hour mark on a shirt. Aliasing is rare and a minor distraction. Watch the car roof around 57:42. Some light, unobtrusive ringing is noted around high contrast edges.

The overall look of the transfer is soft, the VC-1 codec losing the battle to what should be natural grain, causing it to clump and appear noisy. Colors are fine, and flesh tones are accurate. Black levels lack a rich, deep quality, but suffice in establishing depth.

Video ★★★☆☆ 

Warner’s TrueHD effort is accurate to the original source, driven mostly by the soundtrack. The subwoofer works overtime to push some of these tracks with a clean bass line. Likewise, multiple car crashes deliver a satisfying thud.

Shattering glass is crisp and clear, while dialogue remains audible despite the relatively low volume level overall. There are few highlights, certainly nothing worth using for demo material, but for a dialogue-driven comedy, Hangover’s TrueHD effort is sufficient.

Audio ★★★☆☆ 

Per Warner’s “rental exclusive” policy and lack of a review copy, this review is based on the feature-less rental edition. This review will be updated when a retail copy is obtained. Extras: N/A

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