I have a confession to make: I don't usually enjoy comedies--either on television or in the movies. I don't like bathroom humor, and I can't stand slapstick.
If you were to ask my three favorite film comedies, I would say
A Fish Called Wanda, Raising Arizona and Fargo.
So when my friend Ro and I agreed to meet for lunch at 1:00 PM and then go to see the comedy The Hangover, I wasn't overly optimistic.
I was wrong. This film has moved into my pantheon of top comedies . . . after only one viewing.
The story is deceptively simple. Justin Bartha is about to wed Sasha Barrese in two days. He and his two best friends (Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms) decide to spend a night in Las Vegas. His future father-in-law (Jeffrey Tambor) loans Bartha his beloved Mercedes convertible for the trip. The only possible fly in the ointment is that Bartha's future brother-in-law, a loser played by Zach Galifianakis, wants to come along on the trip.
The four set out for Vegas in the sexy car. When they arrive, they check into a villa at Caesar's Palace. The loser B-I-L asks the desk clerk if Caesar ever really lived there.
After showering and dressing in their casual best, the four men set out for a night on the town.
Flash Forward: The next morning, three of the guys wake up in a trashed villa (complete with a couple of scary surprises), no memories of the night before and no trace of the groom. They have a little over 24 hours to retrace their steps, locate the groom and get him back to Los Angeles in time to get married.
The fun is in watching the three groomsmen try to figure out where they've been and what to do about the unexpected extra items they've found in the villa, all the while dodging some bad guys intent on hurting them.
Bradley Cooper plays Phil, a schoolteacher looking for excitement. Ed Helms plays Stu, a dentist getting ready to propose to his waspish girlfriend of three years. Zach Galifianakis is Alan, a social misfit who wants to visit the casinos to win at blackjack by counting cards.
I can't remember when I have laughed as hard. The humor is often coarse, and the language is deplorable, but the laughs just keep coming. The trio encounter a beautiful hooker, an Asian baby with a mobile face, a genuine celebrity, some Chinese thugs, a stolen police car and a variety of residents of Las Vegas from cops to an ER doctor to a wedding chapel operator.
I don't want to say too much about the film because I don't want to spoil it for you. Just take my word for it, and GO see The Hangover.