There is no excuse for the vulgarity that pervades “The Hangover,” the latest from helmer Todd Philips via Warner Bros. Virtually every scene has one if not two bare behinds, episodes of vomiting, references to masturbation, sex between humans and animals, and inconvenient urination. Your critic, who is no prude, cringed repeatedly at the screening. There is even a b**w j*b, not to mention enough male nakedness to make a nudist blush.
“The Hangover” has a plot, albeit ridiculous. Four guys take a road trip from Santa Barbara to Las Vegas for the bachelor party to end all bachelor parties. The groom to be, Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) invites his idiot-savant brother-in-law-to-be Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to join two more friends on the road-trip. This is implausible because Alan is a pedophile and a jerk, and no one in his right mind, even a pussy-whipped groom, would risk taking him along. Dentist Stu Price (Ed Helms) and schoolteacher Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper) round out the quartet. A 1968 high-hood Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Cabriolet, worth at least $75,000, plays a prominent role. It’s the car lent by Doug’s future father-in-law (Jeffrey Tambor) for the road trip. In an ongoing joke (one of pic’s many unforgivable crimes) it is smashed almost beyond recognition.
After Alan unknowingly spikes their drinks with a date-rape drug, the quartet commit all manner of offenses, even stealing the pet tiger of boxer Mike Tyson, who, remarkably, emerges from this celluloid squalor with dignity intact. The date rape drug has a nasty side effect: Memory loss. Together with their recollections, the revelers lose the groom the day before his wedding. Remainder of pic has the three “survivors” (if one can call them that) retracing their sodden steps to retrieve the groom in what could have been great farce.
Special mention goes to Heather Graham as the Vegas stripper wed by dentist Stu during his drug-induced blackout. Her charm is pic’s only bright spot. Tech credits are adequate. Screenplay by John Lucas and Scott Moore is disjointed, needing too many “out of character” actions to move the plot forward.
“The Hangover” is rated “R.” At 100 minutes, it is 100 minutes too long.