A law school graduate is hired by a top law firm but doesn't tell them about a problem he has--he's so allergic to alcohol that one whiff of it and he passes out like a light. Written by
"The Big Hangover" is a rather unpleasant film that seen today doesn't play well. Acting-wise, the cast is very attractive: a gorgeous Elizabeth Taylor, then 18 years old, Van Johnson, Leon Ames, Rosemary DeCamp, Percy Waram, and Edgar Buchanan. Johnson plays a law student on the GI bill who's about to graduate. He has an embarrassing problem with alcohol: one taste and he's plastered. He talks to lamps; he thinks his dog is talking to him; he sings loudly at a formal alumni dinner. His boss' daughter, Taylor, who once worked for a psychiatrist, wants to cure him.
All of this has the makings of a comedy, except the film takes a turn with the introduction of a subplot where a Chinese man and his wife are denied an apartment. Johnson believes the matter to be resolved in the man's favor, and then learns that the law firm he works with has lied to him. This has the makings of a good drama, with Johnson having to face some cold facts of life and decide what he wants to stand for in his career.
But as neither comedy nor drama, the film ends up as not much. There's an aggravating scene where one of the good old boy attorneys spikes Johnson's food at the alumni dinner to watch him get plotzed. It's mean-spirited, and it makes you wonder why the other people at the table are laughing.
Despite its excellent cast and good performances, The Big Hangover is more of The Big Waste.
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