Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding.
Angelenos Doug Billings and Tracy Garner are about to get married. Two days before the wedding, the four men in the wedding party - Doug, Doug's two best buddies Phil Wenneck and Stu Price, and Tracy's brother Alan Garner - hop into Tracy's father's beloved Mercedes convertible for a 24-hour stag party to Las Vegas. Phil, a married high school teacher, has the same maturity level as his students when he's with his pals. Stu, a dentist, is worried about everything, especially what his controlling girlfriend Melissa thinks. Because she disapproves of traditional male bonding rituals, Stu has to lie to her about the stag, he telling her that they are going on a wine tasting tour in the Napa Valley. Regardless, he intends on eventually marrying her, against the advice and wishes of his friends. And Alan seems to be unaware of what are considered the social graces of the western world. The morning after their arrival in Las Vegas, they awaken in their hotel suite each with the worst ... Written by
Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper fall so perfectly into the circumstances of a night out without the wife/girlfriend—a bachelor party, no less—that we're all happy we're safe in the audience clucking our tongues but secretly envying every single moment (one that includes the ever watchable Heather Graham). These boys fall and fall hard, and trying to pick up the pieces of a night they strangely can't remember brought more laughs than the last time I laughed this consistently (that was "There's Something About Mary").
The cast never forgets that they are actors here and not on an episode of "Jackass" as Apatow's comedies often feel. There's tight control on the dialog and we never descend into simple slapstick. Oh, there's broad humor, but we're watching terrific actors in very broad situations. The trailer is a perfect sample of what you're going to get, although it may veer into raunch perhaps a little more than the trailer hints. But it's never just sensationalism, because I can—regrettably, I confess—relate to waking up in a room with a chicken and not knowing exactly from whence it came.
Galifiankis has the most unique character (well, besides a naked Chinese fellow, but you can discover that one for yourself) and he's wonderful to watch. Not everything he does comes off 100%, but when he scores, it's so far out from our own comfort zone, that when the jaws of the other characters drop, we're right there with them. Rachel Harris deserves special mention as the girlfriend who demonstrates why marriage can be so fearful.
This is as tidy a script as "My Best Friend's Wedding" and just as beautifully shot. The cinematography could be pulled from any of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce ads, and it only adds to our confidence that whatever is coming around the next corner, we don't have to worry that it will wreck all that's gone before. The makers of this little gem are as much in control as the characters are out of control, and it was joy to finally get a great farce that we're very sorry to see end. I see that "Hangover, 2" is in development, and I hope lighting strikes twice.
(The standard for wedding singer has been set. Anyone want to top this?)
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