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The Hangover - now on DVD

The Hangover is much funnier than your typical buddy movie.
The Hangover is much funnier than your typical buddy movie.

On the surface The Hangover would appear to be just another gross “bromance” movie: A group of guys head to Vegas for a bachelor party. The set-up instantly conjures the word “dude” being said over and over and a painful procession of high-fives, yelling, drugs, strippers and an abundance of booze. There is indeed a touch of all of these things, but what makes this movie so rich and funny, is that it goes against everything you expect.

For starters, the characters seem like real people with very real problems. Doug (Justin Bartha), the groom, is a genuinely nice guy about to marry a woman who just might be a little too serious. The bride’s brother Alan (Zach Galifianakis) probably has Asperger’s Disease. Galifianakis could easily have overplayed Alan, going for the laughs. But instead he underdoes the oddness, making his character both complex and unforgettable. The Office’s Ed Helms plays the groom’s nerdy dentist friend Stu who plans to marry a truly evil woman. Phil (Bradley Cooper) is a handsome, silky smooth high school teacher who is just cruising for a bruising.

Without ruining the ingenious plot, suffice it to say this movie starts where most “bromances” end. Even if you saw it in the theaters, The Hangover is worth getting on DVD. Everyone needs a good laugh over the holidays.