Tag Archives: comedy

Couples Retreat (2009)


Starring: Vince Vaughn, Kristen Bell, Jason Bateman, Malin Akerman, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis
Director: Peter Billingsley
Screenwriter: Jon Favreau

Ok, I knew I would not like this one. There was no way in hell that a
comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau would interest me in the
slightest. I also am not a heterosexual man so that the hotness of Malin
Ackerman or Kristen Bell or Kristin Davies would blind my rational
judgment. I saw the trailer and I thought it was a nice way for some A
listers to earn some money while getting a natural tan in an exotic location.
I knew well ahead what was coming and my masochist side was pleased to
see I was all I hoped it would be.

The plot revolves around four couples: Malin Ackerman and Vince Vaughn, Kristin Bell and Jason Bateman, Kristin Davis and Jon Favreau, Faison Love and a 20 year old post divorce rebound girlfriend. Every one of these couples
has ONE problem and everything they do is connected to that one problem
and/or is totally out of character but serves an one line unfunny joke. They
try to solve their problems by going on a vacation that includes, among
scuba diving and massages, couples therapy. I KNOW, this is so original
and so not cliché at all!

The trailer lies like a well oiled marketing device: it presents this movie as a
raunchy comedy with a stelar cast, great panoramic views and a love
centered story. If you actually buy tickets, you will be met by some bored
individuals who are trying to sell you some figments of candy wrapped
Hollywood “love” that should make you believe that these are good people
who deserve to be happy. I’ll give them this: they deserve each other. The
stories are one dimensional, predictable and quickly resolved, and there are
not enough helicopter shots of crystal blue sea water in this flick to make
anyone forget what impossibly contrived situations they try to pass as real
couple problems.

When I read some reviews about this movie, I realized that many people said that it was a shame that “such a talented cast” was “dragged into this horror fest”. I disagree. These people have not one, but several people watching every move they make, every contract they sign, every role they pick. They read the script, compare it to the check and decide if it’s worth it. So my conclusion was that Vince Vaughn deserves all the bad press he can get, because he wanted to become this mediocre romantic comedy lead with zero appeal. He is almost Kutcher level for me, only worse especially because he had things going for him that the ladder did not, mainly talent. Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell are basically two sides of the same character but at about half way through the movie, she becomes another person so they can fight and “communicate their issues”. It’s all bland and pointless, not to mention unintentionally funny. They are likable actors, but somehow this movie makes them annoying and I’m very happy because maybe that will make Bell stop with the “cute as a button” type roles. Malin Ackerman is underappreciated by her husband and remains that way even after the credits roll, although the script tries to tell you otherwise. And Faison Love is embarrassing, but luckily the bar can go lower to poor Jon Favreau (who also co-wrote this wreck) and Kristen Davis where there.are.no.words.

While watching this movie, the painfully true line uttered by Roeper when trying to explain using words the awfulness that is “What Happens in Vegas” was floating through my head: “The cast said they had so much fun during the making of this movie, THEY should have to sit through it”.

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Good Luck Chuck (2007)


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2

Starring: Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler, Lonny Ross
Director: Mark Helfrich
Screenwriter: Josh Stolberg

I had a bad feeling about going to see this movie and I tried to convince my friend not to go, but my main two arguments -“I have never seen anything funny starring Dane Cook” and “I do not think Jessica Alba is an actress”- somehow failed against “You have never seen one of his stand-ups” (true) and “She is hot” (also true). While reading Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 Worst Movies Ever, I came across this title, and I remembered my pain and suffering and regret over spending about $10 (including popcorn and soda) on something so excruciating that it made my root canal appointment seem like Disneyland.

“Good Luck Chuck” tells the improbable tale of a dentist (yes, that is exactly why I said root canal), Charlie Logan (Dane Cook), who has a unique quality: every woman he dates/sleeps with ends up marrying the next guy she meets. He was hexed when he was a child, and now, in adulthood, his current status and reputation helps him get so many women he cannot keep up with, because evidently he is the gateway to women’s heaven: marriage (gag me!) . He meets and falls in love with Cam (Jessica Alba), a penguin zookeeper, that is the ideal mix of beauty and smarts, but she has a twist too: she is clumsy to the extreme. Shenanigans ensue. Of course he has an obnoxious fat friend whose only purpose is to make him look like a prince because he does not pretend he’s somebody else to get laid and he does not fuck a grapefruit on his spare time. Of course her constantly falling and generally being embarrassing to the human race is charming. Of course they love each other but the „situational comedy” keeps them apart. Of course Dane Cook is funny. And of course Jessica Alba could be a scientist.

One of this movie’s major flaws is that it is simply not funny.  I can take slapstick humor. I can take dirty jokes („Clerks”, anyone?). I can suspend my disbelief that such people could possibly exist on an oxygenated planet. I really have no problem with very beautiful women coupled with generic looking men (I liked „Knocked Up”). I can see the charm of a funny man (fine, I admit: I am a Seth Rogen fan). I do not expect life lessons or philosophy out of a comedy script. I laughed during „The Proposal”, for God’s sake, and it was about two walking clichés bantering! But when I go to see a comedy, romantic or otherwise, it better be funny. It better have at least one fresh, innovative, clever joke, and at least ten mediocre ones. And the leads do not have to be Oscar winners, but they better have the charisma and comedic timing to pull through the delivery of lines without making it seem like a school play where everybody is looking at their mommy in the audience for approval.

The second is the leads’ lack of appeal. I do not want to start talking about acting skills, because this particular script has no need for them, not even Meryl Streep can resuscitate this train wreck. But to manage to gain the audience, to make everybody root for the main characters, they need to be likeable. Dane Cook may be a great guy and a worthy actor, but he just makes you want bad shit to happen to him. On screen, that is. He is like Ashton Kutcher: not as funny as he thinks he is, and desperately trying to prove his genius. Even Demi’s husband seems more relaxed when “acting”, and his Twitter persona seems like a genuinely nice guy. But the 30 year old man-child shtick is not attractive and not amusing; it’s just boring and overdone. And Jessica is a pleasure to watch, she really brightens the screen every time she smiles, too bad her role has her talking.  She deserves her spot on any “most beautiful” top, but I think she and Jessica Biel have the same problem: nobody takes beauty seriously. Next think you know, they will declare it a handicap and ask for damages. Because Charlize Theron is ugly, did you not see “Monster”?

Overall, a movie already forgotten by almost everybody except Rotten Tomatoes and me, and a step by step demo of how easy it is to make millions even without direction, script, actors or a plausible premise: just take a funnyman and a vixen; throw in some sex and bathroom jokes, cute animals, over promote the hell out of it and voila: the movie everybody saw and nobody wanted to see.

Good Luck Chuck (2007)

The Ugly Truth (2009)


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3

Starring: Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl, Cheryl Hines, Bonnie Somerville, Bree Turner, Vicki Lewis
Director: Robert Luketic
Screenwriter: Nicole Eastman
Rated: R for sexual content and language.

When you read a summary of the plot of “The Ugly Truth” as presented by trailers and adverts, you may be tempted to think: “It cannot be as bad as it sounds! It has Katherine Heigl and the same type of clichés that made “Knocked Up” a sensation (man – funny, laid back and afraid of being trapped, woman – responsible, stressed and afraid of being single). You may be tempted to try to look at the bright side: “At least it is not about aliens” or “At least it is rated R so that means (technically) that I won’t get full frontal nudity gags” or “At least Seth Rogen stayed out of this one”. They are all deceiving! I watched the trailer as I was reviewing and I felt the urge to give it a higher grade because it seemed so much more fun. But the trailer has literally EVERY mediocre joke in the script and the only ones remotely amusing.

My expectations were low when I heard that Katherine Heigl is playing another one of her dreaded roles that she seems to feel are beneath her but somehow she always chooses (either she doesn’t read the scripts or she just accepts the best paid jobs – neither of these situations gives her the right to complain later) . Well, I’ve seen “27 Dresses”. I’ve also seen “Knocked Up”. And about 4 seasons of the pretentious awfulness that is “Grey’s Anatomy”. My conclusion was that she is a very good actress, even when given lines three feet long and one inch deep, and she has a rare ability to be likeable no matter how embarrassing the situation her character has to go through. Unfortunately, this has to be the lowest point of her career (I refuse to acknowledge a lower one). Yes, I included “Grey’s”, although, to be fair, I never quite got to the whole “Izzie has Denny wet dreams” part. Her character, Abby Richter, is the embodiment of a less haute couture dressed “Sex and the City -The Movie” lady. Only she does not have any friends (or relatives for that matter) to talk to about the one subject this whole world revolves around: men – their needs, their expectations when it comes to women and  everything that is vital to obtaining that glorious relationship that leads to marriage, that all women want and that is every man’s worst nightmare because Lord knows there haven’t been enough movies focusing on phony battle of the sexes and this one is SO original –  and she is thus obligated to listen to a total stranger that is some kind of a Jerry Springer love guru that hosts a five minutes show about… monkeys, sex and monkey sex. Heigl’s already severely bruised charm is gradually destroyed by clunky dialogue and unfunny banter that is supposed to be cute but has you reaching for a bag to vomit in. I will not talk about Gerard Butler because I pity him like Mr. T pities the fools. There were no other characters. I seem to remember a Ken doll looking individual that takes his shirt of at some point but I could not care less about his character who was so clearly set out to be a plot device that his role can be summarized as: “prop no. 2 that stands in the way of the main couple”. A box with that label would have done his job for free.

I do not want you to think I hated the movie because it was misogynistic, because it was not. The women were stupid shrews who never found anyone willing to have sex with them so their need got so severe that one of them goes out at a business meeting wearing FUCKING VIBRATING UNDERWEAR. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Ha. Are you done laughing? That was the greatest gag that all the trailers, no matter how short, had to incorporate. Because it was something that nobody, ever, in the history of movie making, thought about. Except maybe Nora Ephron, the writer of “When Harry Met Sally”. And Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the writers of “Crank”. And just about any sitcom and B list movies junior screenwriter of the last 20 years.  I was actually glad I was a woman in that cinema theatre. I bet Gerard Butler would have given his testicles to be playing any other role but his own. The only ones that got more humiliated were the jelly wrestling twins (yes, there were jelly covered bikini clad models, but don’t pay the whole ticket for that, just search it on youtube), but they were girls who had one shot at stardom and if their looks helped, why not? When you are already a star, WHY GOD WHY? His character is not even abrasive like the ones that Rogen usually plays. Not even remotely redeemable. Not even evil. Not even entertaining. He was an absurd caricature of how geeky pussy whipped writers see THE MAN:  he started like a closeted serial rapist that was about to snap and ended like a teenager in love with his 60 year old teacher.

If you are not easily offended (not by language or nudity, but by nonsense stupidity) then don’t go. A test for knowing whether you will be tempted to strangle the cashier of the cinema to get your money back is this: Could you watch “Dude, Where’s My Car?” without changing the channel? Have you laughed more than twice watching it? Was the laughter actually caused by a line in the script rather than ironical? If you answered yes to all of these questions, you are more patient than I could ever be and I bow.

The Breakfast Club (1985)


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8

Starring: Paul Gleason, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Ron Dean

Screenwriter and Director: John Hughes

John Hughes passed away this August, but his legacy remains, as he produced, written or directed some of  the most successful movies of the ‘80s and ‘90s: “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, ”Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”,  “Weird Science”, “ The Breakfast Club”, “Some Kind of Wonderful”, “Sixteen Candles”,  “Pretty in Pink”, “Planes”, “Trains and Automobiles”, “Uncle Buck”, “Home Alone” and its sequel “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”. His ability to talk to teenagers without being condescending, without minimizing their already small and passionate universe and without making one of the worst mistakes a teen targeted flick writer could do: talk about the former generation instead of the current one – these were some of the reasons his movies were very well received. Some of them even set the tone for countless series and movies to come, as every teen drama has at least one mention of the iconic “The Breakfast Club” and at least one attempt of imitating one of its scenes.

It’s amazing what can be done with very little setting and a fairly simple idea: five very different teenagers belonging to opposed high school cliques end up spending the Saturday in the school library, each having broken a conduct rule. The school is the stage, and seven people are the actors. Andrew (Emilio Estevez) is a jock with a wrestling ambition, but it becomes very clear that that ambition belongs to Clark Senior rather than Junior. The constant pressure has him wishing for a permanent injury and drives him to bully others, making him ashamed of his behavior, and the shame adds even more pressure… a full inescapable circle. Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald) is the prom queen, the prize over which the two halves of a bitter marriage fight.  Rewarded and pampered, she is not actually missed or loved. John Bender (Judd Nelson) is “the criminal” and the only one from a working class background. The constant abuse has him lashing out against everyone, making him to always go out of his way trying to be obnoxious. He is the one that rattles everybody’s cages so that the premise can be outlined. Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall) the brain of the group, the geek that cannot conceive a low grade. When he receives an F at shop class, he acts out in an unusual way and gets detention. And finally, the basket case: Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), a compulsive liar and a sometimes kleptomaniac who is severely deprived of human contact and attention and whose internal void and loneliness has her attaching herself to this unlikely group in the hope of any kind of bonding. They all talk like ’80s teens do, and it still rings true (either that or I’m old). They try to stand out; they all have short attention spans, a predilection for experiencing new forbidden grounds and a desperate need to be unique. On top of that lays a desire common to us all: to be loved for what they are underneath their façades.

This is the movie that set the mark for stereotyping high school life into groups. We all know that cheerleaders are beautiful and popular, geeks are harassed daily and weirdoes are singled out. I frankly do not remember my cretaceous high school era as being so overwhelming. Yes, there is that obvious fight to not be at the bottom of the social pyramid, but other than that, it is fun. Or it should be. The script does not surprise very much because it does not need to: the point of the story is that the typical masks uncover ordinary family tales. Nothing is extreme; nothing makes you gasp in astonishment. Because these cheap tricks would alienate the target audience, the ones that should be able to point at one of the five characters and say: “That is sooooooo me in 10th grade!”. It is authentic and real instead of over the top. That is one of the characteristics of John Hughes’ work.

It also seems to be one of the major strengths of the cast. They blend tighter together as they separate their stories and they all seem to reverting back to their teen years without any visible effort. One of the main reasons I support the “Beverly Hills 90210” type of casting (remember the balding 16 years old Dylan McKay? Or Andrea, the menopausal school paper editor?) is this kind of acting work, acting that does not make your brain melt (have you ever seen Shanae Grimes “act”? Her full-on seizure face contrasts with her deadpan delivery making it impossibly embarrassing to watch).

John Hughes has one of the characters say that “when you grow up your heart dies”. The good thing is that these teens will never grow up because all we will ever see of them are these 90 minutes of anguish.  Nobody will ever know what happened to them after they left the library, and maybe it’s for the best. One of the most referenced movies in history, “The Breakfast Club” is a ‘80s classic.

Definitely, Maybe (2008)


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3

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Derek Luke, Abigail Breslin, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Kline
Director: Adam Brooks
Screenwriter: Adam Brook
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„Definitely, Maybe” is a long PG-rated bedtime story told by a divorcing father (Ryan Reynolds) to his very clever and cute girl (all grown up Abigail Breslin of the great „Little Miss Sunshine” fame), a „mistery romance” involving three diferent women, each of which could be the mother of his daughter. We are teased about the changing of the names, so that we know that the Sarah from the settlement papers could be the blonde Emily (Elizabeth Banks), the fire red April (Isla Fisher) or the brunette Summer (Rachel Weisz). Ultimately the conclusion is surprisingly outside this dilemma. And by surprisingly I mean “out of nowhere”.

Although the movie is tediously long, the characters are unacceptably underdeveloped. The main character, a Wisconsin young man with presidential ambitions and a Clinton supporter, arrives in New York for an internship in the democrat campaign office. This is all established in the first 5 minutes and it’s repeated at nauseam, and what makes it even worse is that no further traits are presented. Except maybe a touch of self pity that is never attractive. Despite being two dimensional, he still manages to find beautiful women ready to commit to him. The first one is his college girlfriend Emily. She fairs far worse: she has only one dimension – Wisconsin girl who wears sweaters. And because of the vagueness around her, when an extra (his roommate) gets a line, we know for sure a) what is going to happen, b) that it is important in the storyline and c) that we do not care. Next in line is Summer, a journalist with a bohemian lifestyle, because it is impossible to be a talented artist unless you’ve had a lesbian experience, slept with your age 66 mentor and travelled to Europe. And the only one that gets a little back story is Isla Fisher’s character (therefore we know she’s special): the carefree forever young soul dubbed the “copy machine girl” who has an obsession about finding the book that her father gave to her before he died (“Jane Eyre”), and I tried to give a shit but it was impossible seeing how nobody ever bothered to explain how she lost it in the first place. These beautiful bland people seem to be the only four dwellers of Manhattan as they keep bumping into each other over and over again for years. Luckily, their non-emotional drama is sometimes interrupted by the comments of the preteen girl who seems the only one capable of expressing and attracting any kind of sympathy.

The pacing is unbearable. There are long useless scenes that I think were inserted to compensate for the lack of unity by adding “historic setting” to the thematic chaos, and the writer is trying so hard to evoke the 90’s (“hahahaha, they had brick cell phones in ’92!”, “remember the Lewinsky scandal?”, “Bush is dumb”) that he should receive the Nobel Prize for curing insomnia. Newsflash for the makers of this movie: if you say it is a romantic comedy, please make us laugh or make us feel warm and fuzzy inside (preferably both), don’t bore us to death with your useless “transcending genre” crap. The people who come to see a romantic comedy a)expect to laugh at least once, b) should not be compelled to check their watches every minute and c) DO NOT APPRECIATE EMPTY SHELLS OF REJECTED SUNDANCE MATERIAL and d) can see that you are being boring on purpose and they may start to hate you. And my personal favorite: e) all the above.

Will has two operating patterns: when he is not sure what he wants and he is not in love he proposes, and when he loves a girl he insults her by being condescending or he asks her to stop doing her job because she is in his way. All while pursing his lips and crying himself to sleep because of all the hardship he had to endure, hardship that is not only self-inflicted, but also well deserved. The comatose acting of Reynolds is not helping either, and through his long continuous journey he arjfwqqqqqqdsffffffjaosfsanvasifajfnvn aigssagiaosgosagoasgasgagasgosagiasoigagoasogaosgoiasogaviasgaosgiasogosaogaogoasdccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc… Sorry, I fell asleep. Where was I? Ah yes, the point of the “love story” is layered etryuilkjhgfhjkllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll… Ok, I need to skip this part.

I was surprised to se the 72% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I began to wonder if I missed something (besides Abigail who is charming and great and without who I would have left the cinema long before the credits) because I kept fixating on how long it lasted and how excruciatingly slow the seconds passed. But then I remembered that I lived through (and enjoyed) the mind numbing “The Hours” (or the “virtually humorless and extremely talky, the movie takes place during one day in each woman’s life, although it moves so slowly it often feels like a week” as this critic described it), as well as every episode of “90210” (have you seen it? it’s so bad it’s good!) and never complained because the first had actual wit and the second never apologized for being a brainless soap opera.

Duplicity (2009)


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Starring : Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Tom Wilkinson
Writer and Director : Tony Gilroy
Rating : PG-13 for language and some sexual content.

Espionage is a very fruitful resource for screenwriter’s inspiration. The possibilities are basically infinite. The ’80s for example were all about the Cold War all the way through the ‘90s. But as we slowly but surely approached the new millenium, spy movies were losing their appeal. The James Bond franchise was becoming stale even with the Pierce Brosnan reboot, “Mission:Impossible” was about to receive a very curious sequel in 2000 which broke all ties to its roots, and Tom Clancy novels were no longer of interest for Hollywood. Times were bad for spies. That is, until 2001 when “The Bourne Identity” and TV series “24” reignited some of that passion for deadly, almost invincible super-agents with a slight twist, a more modern, darkish and sllightly more realistic sensibility added to the characters, something that would even carry over to the 007 franchise. To blame for this is screenwriter Tony Gilroy who wrote all three Bourne films (and, perhaps less known for his work on “Proof of Life” and “Dolores Claiborne”). Recently he’s been trying his hand as a director. His directorial debut, “Michael Clayton” earned him a lot of accolades and a handsome amount of award nominations. His last project : “Duplicity”.

Quite a long introduction, I know. Now off to a small synopsis. Ray Koval (Clive Owen) is an MI6 agent. Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts) is a CIA agent. When they first meet, they don’t know that about each other. After a lite flirt, they end up sharing a hotel room, where she drugs him and steals some sensible documents he was supposed to be protecting with his own life. Not very MI6 of him, right ? Fate would have them meet again after some time. The attraction between them is irresistable so they end up sharing a hotel room once again, this time without any work-related intentions, though they hardly trust each other. They cook up a plan which would allow them to make a lot of money, enough to quit their day jobs. The plan requires one of them to infiltrate a company with a big product on the market, while the other infiltrates a rival company, allowing them to play at both ends to retrieve vital information about a hypothetical ground-breaking new product, information which they will then sell to a third party for personal gain.

Sounds complicated doesn’t it ? It sure is. Claire gets a job protecting industrial secrets for Burkett&Randle, owned by Howard Tully (Tom Wilkinson). Ray gets a job stealing industrial secrets at Equickrom, owned by Richard Garsik (Paul Giamatti). Claire becomes a mole for Equickrom, but the objective is to place vital information in Ray’s hands. When Burkett&Randle announce the development of a super-product, Garsik let’s loose with the corporate espionage, and the game is on.

At first glance, the story doesn’t seem too complicated, but that’s mostly because I tried to organize the film’s plot in a comprehensive manner. The film never follows a traditional narrative line. Instead, the story flips back and forward from the present, where Claire and Ray seem to not know each other, to earlier moments in time, which slowly allow us to realise what their true intentions are. And even that is not all there is to it, but I’ll just stick to what the trailers made public for those who haven’t seen it. The main idea follows the corporate wars in a satirical manner. The main title sequence finds the two corporate bosses engaging in full contact dirty fighting on an airstrip, all in slow motion. I think that makes a solid point. But not much else about this film is as straightforward. The script follows a complicated path to its resolution, playing with our minds throughout, which I think, in a way is part of the point Gilroy is trying to make. He’s also showing off quite a bit. Is it necessary ? Not really. Is it interesting ? Somewhat. Is the man a master when it comes to writing scripts ? He sure is. The main title says it all. Duality. Not just the lies and deceit built around the two corporations, but also around the two protagonists, Claire and Ray. The two love each other, but they just can’t trust one another. All their training as spies has taught them to keep their guard up and trust no one, and that’s just not what makes a relationship work. Julia Roberts and Clive Owen (second collaboration since “Closer”) are talented and charismatic, and their conflictual relationship, filled with verbal jousting cleverly written by Gilroy, works especially because they react so well together. The espionage plot may or may not dazzle you, but it’s the relationship between these two characters that is the drive of the film.

In short, it’s an interesting approach to spy films, wonderfully backed up by a great cast and featuring a sometimes too complicated script. Complicated, but smart and crafty. Though there were times I wished I had started writing down some of the plot elements, the film ultimately rewards the viewer, though a repeat viewing is not exactly tempting.

The Hangover (2009)


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Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor, Rachel Harris, Heather Graham, Rob Riggle
Director: Todd Phillips
Screenwrite
r: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore, Todd Phillips, Jeremy Garelick

I was 15 minutes into this movie and I could not point to one single minimally redeemable character. In the background there was this vaguely familiar noise: my country’s most notable musical export, sung by Rihanna here, was even worse than the God-awful original. By the time it got to the “Who Let the Dogs Out”, I was not sure I could stay until the end. If only I knew there was more, that somebody would play a slow rendition of one of the most insulting pieces of “songwriting” in the history of music: “Candy Shop”, I would have run for the hills.

And just as I was getting ready for a quick exit and calculating my way out, “the hangover” happened. The characters woke up missing a tooth and the groom and with a surplus of a baby and a tiger. I was so curious I stayed until the end. The four men – Doug, Stu, Phil and Alan, all in different stages of their lives/relationships, spent a wild night in Vegas and they wake up not knowing what happened. My years of “Lost” taught me that “it’s all in their head, they’re drunk” or that “it’s all a conspiracy”, and I now know that watching TV can be hazardous for a healthy normal enjoyment of a big screen comedy. Luckily, my theories were soon shut down and |I was impressed by the outcome.

The movie is trying way too hard and its only props are some poor flat jokes of no substance and some questionable slapstick humor. And these are the good parts. There are also some unremarkable female characters that sometimes border extreme bitchiness, an unsuccessful and surprisingly pointless cameo by Mike Tyson, a tiny yet very mean Asian mobster caricature, and two of my cinema pet peeves – Bradley Cooper and Heather Graham. This whole glorious ensemble has only one positive outcome: the groom stand out as being the best man (no pun intended) out of this bunch, although that is not that impressive once you count his competition: a borderline functionally retarded individual who possibly is a repeated sex offender, a middle school teacher who takes the class school trips money as he screams at his students: “You do not exist!” and a dentist whose hairline is always beneath the hard pressed shoe of his hateful cheating girlfriend.

As they try to figure out their whereabouts of the previous night, they go through the longest day of their lives. There are some occasional funny moments, but they are rare and a little far fetched. Actually, the scene that made me laugh the most was the picture collage (deliciously intentionally amateurish) that shed some light on their misadventures, but not even that was not an original move, as I’ve seen it before in “What Happens in Vegas”. Oh yes, these movies are both set in Vegas and their humor relies on alcohol, and they both are played by popular actors that bring crowds into the cinemas. But “The Hangover” is a little bit better, more evolved, at least it has some well enough drawn characters and lacks idealistic romance, as the stripper is not a gold hearted naïve but a realist – “I am actually an escort, but as a striper I find customers more easily”. But did they need all those people to write this tired script?

Bottom line is: it is not groundbreaking comedy, it is not even must see material, but it is a decent waste of time accompanied by a few laughs that might just add up to the price of the tickets.  And if you are in a better mood than I was, you may actually enjoy it.