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Bradley Cooper
Ed Helms
Zach Galifianakis
Justin Bartha
Heather Graham.
Todd Phillips.
Scott Moore
Jon Lucas.
Running Time
TBC minutes

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The Hangover
It’s Very Bad Things with belly laughs…

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Three hapless groomsmen (Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis) regain consciousness after a devastating Vegas stag night to discover that the groom is AWOL and that they can’t remember a thing about the night before.

The Hangover
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Director Todd Phillips scored his biggest hit with 2003’s ribald, R-rated romp Old School, a film that proved beyond question — as if we didn’t know it already — that the spectacle of grown men communing with their inner adolescent and behaving like frat boys is a recipe for comedy gold.

Phillips treads broadly similar ground with The Hangover (written by Lucas and Moore of Four Christmases ‘fame’) but, ironically for a movie that celebrates the male of the species’ innate ability to screw things up and act like a complete idiot, he exhibits a great deal more maturity than he did with its likable but hit-and-miss forebear.

On the face of it, The Hangover doesn’t look particularly promising, nor, to be honest, terribly original. The ‘bachelor party gone wrong’ is a well-established comedy sub-genre and the prospect of yet another bunch of shit-faced yuppies getting into scrapes with hookers is hardly one to savour. Mercifully, and very astutely, The Hangover avoids the clichés — the majority of them, at least — by starting where most movies of this ilk finish: in the aftermath of the ruinous carousing rather than the preamble to it. In fact, sparing us the gratuitous party scenes is not just good sense but an intrinsic element of the narrative since, thanks to a self-administered mickey that turns out to be roofies rather than E, the central characters have no more idea of what went on the night before than we do.

Following a brief establishing set-up, the action kicks off when a trio of groomsmen (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis) wake up in the apocalyptic wreckage of their Las Vegas hotel suite to discover an abandoned baby in the closet, Mike Tyson’s tiger in the bathroom and the inexplicable absence of the groom himself (Justin Bartha), who is due to get hitched in 24 hours’ time. From that point on the film becomes a twisted, and unerringly hilarious, detective story as the hapless ‘worst men’, their memories wiped clean by date-rape drugs, have to piece together the events of the previous evening, track down their missing buddy and get him to the church on time. The trouble is, they have very little evidence to go on save for a missing front tooth, a collection of hospital wristbands and a wedding ring on very much the wrong finger.

The pacing is furiously fast and the laughs keep coming as our increasingly desperate heroes are assaulted out of the blue by characters and events they have no hope of comprehending. Rarely has that sinking, morning-after realisation that things are much, much worse than they seem been better evoked than when a valet parking attendant rolls up not in Bartha’s future father-in-law’s vintage Merc but a stolen police car. Truthfully, the film abounds with such moments, most of them vastly more raucous. And, true to form, Phillips delivers at least one incident that will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief, even while you’re laughing your ass off. As for bizzaro celebrity cameos, they don’t come much more off-the-wall than Mike Tyson singing along to Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight and smashing Galifianakis full in the face at the climax of the iconic drum fill.

What really gives The Hangover wings, though, rendering it every bit as endearing as it is profanely funny, is the chemistry between the leads — Cooper as the group’s cocksure alpha male; Helms as the neurotic whiner, and Galifianakis, in a star-making turn, as the token beardy weirdy. Their guy-centric sparring is so effortless, a direct product of their characters and the relationship between them, it seems almost inconceivable that it originated in a script. Of course it did, and full credit to Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (with input from Phillips) for that — no matter how crammed full of side-splitting set-pieces a movie is, if the characters aren’t convincing or likable you’ve got nothing. In The Hangover they are both, and the film benefits on that score from them being relatively unknown. A state of affairs that, on this evidence, is not likely to last.

A furiously paced, inventive and flat-out hilarious take on a tried-and-tested formula. An exemplary bromantic comedy that doesn’t sacrifice heart in pursuit of laughs, maintaining plenty of the former and a superabundance of the latter.

Reviewed by Simon Braund

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Hangover
Empire Star Rating

Watched on tv with the missus: tp:// l_tt_1]The Hangovereen it quite often by now but I still think that this is one of the best and most original comedies in recent years. Even though you know exactly what comes next, the laughs still come thick and fast and the recognisability of some parts of the story is wonderful. Every time again I enjoy The Wolfpack. Bring on part 3! /b] ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 21:39, 20 May 2013 | Report This Post

The Hangover

Have you ever imagined spending a night in Vegas that you couldn’t remember- well, now you can. The Hangover is an outrageously funny story of the morning after Doug’s bachelor party. Alan, Stu and Phil all wake up in a completely wrecked villa with many questions that they need to answer. What happened last night? Why is there a tiger in the bathroom? Whose 6 month old baby is in the cupboard? What happened to Stu’s tooth? And most importantly, where is Doug? When the three... More

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Posted by DWF10900 at 18:33, 02 May 2012 | Report This Post

The Hangover Review

With a clever script and hilarious interplay among the cast, The Hangover nails just the right tone of raunchy humor, and the non-stop laughs overshadow any flaw. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 21:18, 14 December 2011 | Report This Post


I really enjoyed the Hangover. The actors are well cast, it looks great and its a pretty original concept. Only problem is, its not that funny! I didnt laugh out loud once. Maybe its trying to be a bit more stylish than your Zoolanders or Happy Gilmores', but for a comedy, i expected to find it a bit funnier. ... More

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Posted by guysalisbury at 11:59, 26 May 2011 | Report This Post

I don't find this film funny. I class it as an enjoyable guys have a crazy-party-and-get-drunk-and-don't-remember-a-thing movie. Seriously, it doesn't have any laugh-out-loud moments. ... More

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Posted by bubbagump9 at 20:58, 23 March 2011 | Report This Post

I must be having a sense of humour failure

As a film, it was average. As a comedy... I think I must be getting old. I suppose - without wishing to sound like a patronising old fart - that this made so much money because it was purely aimed at the teenager market. I didn't laugh out loud once, which I usually do in a good comedy. I found it only vaguely worth a smile a few times. As an actual movie - technically - it is well made. But 'hilarious' it isn't in my humble opinion. As for 'the biggest grossing comedy of all time'... More

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Posted by ApotheosisX at 15:56, 30 December 2010 | Report This Post

a classic

Loved every minute of it, classic, was not expecting a naked chinese man to jump out of the trunk, had me crying with laughter ... More

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Posted by mossy101 at 04:05, 28 September 2010 | Report This Post


This was funny but it wasn't THAT funny after all the buzz I'd heard about it I expected a bit more. I thought Forgetting Sara Marshall was funnier to be honest. Still glad I caught it. I found the banter bewteen the four mates to be the strongest point and it gave the film some good character moments. ... More

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Posted by The REAL Bozz at 18:19, 08 September 2010 | Report This Post

tp://]The Hangoverne of the surprises of the cinema year 2009 is still really funny, even though the surprise is a bit gone after one viewing. Especially since I`ve been to Las Vegas in april of this year myself, this all is pretty recognisable. The few extra`s scenes in the minute longer unrated cut don`t really add a lot, especially the scene during the wedding at the end could`ve better been left out. But I really enjoyed it again nonetheless. I do wonder if... More

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Posted by TheGodfather at 18:35, 06 August 2010 | Report This Post

Some funny shit indeed

Great pace, great cast. One I watch over and over again. Along with Dumb and Dumber ... More

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Posted by monkeyhumour at 06:59, 16 May 2010 | Report This Post

The Hangover

I watched hungover, then again not so rough and found that I wasn't in fact daydreaming. It was an actual enjoyable film. Really good film. Would recommend it to everyone. Some laugh-out-loud moments too. Merits its four star rating ... More

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Posted by mymatebone at 14:54, 08 May 2010 | Report This Post

The only funny bit is when Tyson hits the guy, and that's in the trailer. Go and watch Very Bad things instead ... More

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Posted by strangeone at 15:05, 10 April 2010 | Report This Post

The best comedy which I have ever seen

This is an utterly amazing comedy which corrects all the mistakes of your typical average comedy and doesn't make new ones. How many times have you watched a hilarious comedy devoid of all humanity and substance (White Chicks)? And how many times have you watched a comedy so obsessed about getting its message across that it forgets to be actually funny (Yes Man)? The Hangover creates a perfect balance between heavy laughs and necessary substance. Thank you, Moore and Lucas, for this incredible ... More

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Posted by djphilips at 12:04, 09 April 2010 | Report This Post

RE: Very funny

I don't really watch Comedies for originality so the plot or whatever didn't bother me. Very well made comedy, the Mike Tyson stuff wasn't too good but the rest of it was very funny. 'Not at the table Carlos' had me choking on my Fanta slush goo. ... More

Posted by TheSpleen at 18:34, 22 March 2010 | Report This Post

Very funny

While not original, I found this film to be very funny. There are two scenes involving male nudity that could have been kept out but otherwise this was a very good film. I can see why it won the golden globe and it deserved the BAFTA nomination because there is defiantly a lot of chemistry between the characters. Despite an ending that feels slightly rushed, this is great entertainment. ... More

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Posted by Rico rodrigeuz at 21:25, 05 March 2010 | Report This Post


Zach Galifiankis was the best comic actor in this. He needs a starring vehicle. ... More

Posted by rancorpuppet at 14:57, 07 February 2010 | Report This Post


They stole the police car during the evening's shenanigans. Hence the valet brings it round for them when they leave the hotel and are expecting the classic Merc or whatever it was. ... More

Posted by superdan at 22:29, 02 February 2010 | Report This Post


Worth watching once and nowhere near as good as Old School.  How come the policecar shows up on Tyson's camera when they don't steal it until the next morning? Or did they steal two police cars? Some laughs, but not one for the DVD collection and the Tyson cameo is horrible. ... More

Posted by theoriginalcynic at 18:36, 02 February 2010 | Report This Post

Yeah!!! It won the Golden Globe!!! This movie absolutely deserved it!! ... More

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Posted by FanaticalAboutFilm at 14:26, 19 January 2010 | Report This Post

Very Funny.

Some hillarious set pieces. a very funny enjoyable film. Great cast. ... More

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Posted by livewire at 11:41, 05 January 2010 | Report This Post

Very Funny.

The Hangover wasn't a film I wanted to really see but I gave a try, thinking it won't be funny and would be a serious disappointment after all the hype. In fact, I was wrong. My mum loved it, if you have that sense of humour then you will love this. There are plenty of laughs especially with Mike Tyson (brilliant cameo), excellent casting and rather beautiful sights of America. One to without doubt check out, you won't get this sort of film like this again for a good long while. ... More

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Posted by joanna likes films at 10:41, 14 December 2009 | Report This Post

Just Like Superbad this film takes a simple premise and takes it to new very very funny levels a cracking comedy which hits all the right notes 10/10 ... More

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Posted by filmburner30 at 10:27, 09 December 2009 | Report This Post

Not a chick flick but definitly an immensely funny Dick flick

Laughed myself sore. Literally pissed myself with the line, "We can't leave a baby alone here with a tiger" When naked Chinaman lept from the car boot/trunk I had to pause the movie as I had a mouthful of beer that just exploded from my face. A must see film for all men who have once woke up in the morning and said, "Where the fuck am I and what the fuck happened last night." ... More

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Posted by Seamus. Pat. at 13:34, 30 November 2009 | Report This Post

Just Not Very Funny

Well, there must be something wrong with me. I find it increasingly difficult to laugh at American comedy. Big screen or small, it just doesn't work for me anymore. A (non-American) friend of mine whose sense of humour generally mirrors my own highly recommended this film. Well, mate, in the highly unlikely event that you are reading this (and you'll know who you are, if you are), we will have to disagree on this one. The premise is good, if hardly original. Las Vegas could have been ... More

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Posted by magiclips at 09:00, 26 November 2009 | Report This Post

Hilarious! I was totally surprised how good this film was!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by FanaticalAboutFilm at 13:45, 21 September 2009 | Report This Post

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