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Movie Review

The Hangover a.k.a. “A Ressaca,” “Se Beber Não Case”

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, sexual content including nudity, and some drug material.

Reviewed by: Ethan Samuel Rodgers
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 36 min.
Year of Release:
2009
USA Release:
June 5, 2009 (wide—3,200 theaters)
DVD: December 15, 2009
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

Drunkenness in the Bible

Sin

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

How good is good enough? Answer

Christian living

What advice do you have for new and growing Christians? Answer

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

How can I decide whether a particular activity—such as smoking, gambling, etc.—is wrong? Answer

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Fornication

Sex, Love & Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Bradley Cooper, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike Tyson, Ken Jeong, Rachael Harris, more »
Director: Todd Phillips
Old School,” “Road Trip,” “Starsky & Hutch,” “School for Scoundrels
Producer: BenderSpink, Green Hat Films, Legendary Pictures, more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Some guys just can’t handle Vegas”

It seems as though every time a new teen party movie comes out, people begin muttering “Hey, this could be the next Superbad.” Bad news, “The Hangover,” this isn’t the comedy you’ve been waiting for. Two words can sum up my entire review for this film: just don’t. I mean it, if there’s one ounce of your jiminy cricket conscience mumbling “maybe I shouldn’t see this,” run, don’t walk, in the opposite direction of the theater.

The story is simple, too simple actually. Even for a “Film de Debauchery” this one lacks any sort of layering in its plot construct. Four friends go to Vegas for a bachelor party and, after a night of partying, lose the groom and have to find him in time for the wedding. That’s it, there’s nothing else, no side plots, nothing. By this I mean, turn down your dumb dial on the way in; you’ll just be miserable if you don’t.

If the plot’s not enough to drive you crazy, the lack of intellectuality in the humor will make you want to rip your hair out, or go and slap the ticket boy at the front of the theater for allowing you to spend 8 dollars on this movie. Director Todd Phillips finds ways to push the envelope in nearly every scene of the film, and he relies heavily on “shock value” for laughs. Sure, the situations they get into are humorous, but how hard is it to generate chuckles when you’ve set yourself up with this premise?

The script was also a letdown, as was the performance of Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha. Zach Galifianakis literally carried them through 96 minutes of “one thing after another,” and had he not been in this, the whole film might have been a bust as he earned nearly every bit of every star that I gave this film by himself.

The most depressing part of it all was the trailer reveals a majority of the best sequences. If you watched the trailer like I did, you just lost 50% of the laughs easily, and honestly, what would have been the best ones. The rest of the film is mostly just Zach Galifianakis making nonsensical jokes while Ed Helms rants and raves about how terrible his life is while rubbing the gap where one of his front teeth used to be, followed by Bradley Cooper shouting a profanity about how miserable their situation is: i.e., “Man we’re so F____ed!”

I won’t go into the moral details too much. Let’s be honest, it’s rated R; it’s a film about grown men partying so hard they can’t remember an entire night. You as a viewer don’t need me to spoon feed you or tell you that you should tread carefully. I will say that, if you have a problem with any curse word under the sun, male butts, topless women, or sexual innuendo, don’t bother. There’s a plethora of the above listed, as well as a few even more deeply disturbing photographs shown during the credits that I won’t even mention.

I suppose the worst news of all is that it’s been announced that “The Hangover 2” will begin production next year, and considering I just saw the midnight showing of the first installment, that’s a little dismaying. So, for you comedy buffs out there that really are intent on seeing this, hey, who’s going to stop you (maybe your parents, I suppose), but believe me, the lack of layers in the story, the nonsensical dialogue, and the overall “wow, I can’t believe that I just saw that while sitting in a movie theater” factor, probably will leave you at least a little disappointed. So to answer the now two year-old question “Is this the next Superbad?” Nope… Just nope.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—What’s surprising about “The Hangover” is not how funny it is--and mark my words, it IS funny. It is consistently funny, and I’m not just talking about the priceless one-liners. There is humor in the way the characters act and react (especially on Alan’s part, played by Zack Galifianakis)--humor that takes an appreciation of subtlety to understand.

No, what is really surprising is just how well-constructed this movie is. Granted, it does have a straightforward premise to work with: four men party so hard they can’t remember what happened and they have to find out. But what could have been a trail of random sequences meandering about Las Vegas is instead a crafted mystery tale. It even starts with a classy mise en scene, then flashes backwards two days to where the story begins. Three friends are holding a bachelor party for a fourth friend, and they go to Vegas. They arrive, take a suite, and promise each other they’ll have a night to remember. Time lapse to the next morning. They don’t remember. But they do know those missing hours were wild, because they wake up in their suite with a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, and a missing bridegroom. Main mystery: Where’s the bridegroom? Subplots: How did everything else get there? The beautiful thing is, all those subplots relate to one another, and to the main plot. Like I said, this isn’t a bunch of randomness stringed together for easy “laffs.” This is a tight script executed by talented actors and a director who knows just how to make the humor serve the story instead of the story serving the humor. And it really works. On a side note, the music and the cinematography are also brilliantly handled, as are the other technical elements. The opening credits, while short, are especially beautiful. And the end credits--well, beautiful isn’t the right word, but they are certainly the way the movie should have ended.

Now that you know that the movie, as a movie, is effective, let us move on the moral elements of the story. This is a no-brainer. If you feel strong convictions about watching a movie about four men who party hard for one night--despite the fact that it lands them in a lot of trouble, and that almost the entire run-time of the film is devoted to showing the consequences of that foolishness--then don’t watch it. Just don’t judge those who have watched it, even if they enjoyed it. Scratch that, actually. We all judge people. As much as we say we don’t judge, we do. The best we can do is temper our judgment with logic and respect. Realize that someone enjoying a movie like this--one with gratuitous language and sexual situations--is no worse than someone enjoying a movie like “Braveheart” with its gratuitous and brutal violence. And I know many, many Christians who love “Braveheart.” Some may say, “Oh, but it has good morals because he was fighting against the English, who were wronging them.” Watch again--he didn’t care about fighting until the Englishmen killed his wife. That movie is about revenge, and the glorification thereof. This one is about four men who party hard; the glorification thereof is arguable. Which is worse? Actually, I enjoy both movies tremendously. Just have the maturity to handle them. And if you don’t have that maturity, then demur. Simple as that.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—JM, age 19 (USA)
Positive—I thought the film was funny. As a heavy-drinking white frat boy in college, I can relate to these characters. I laughed several times. The camaraderie and next-day reminiscing over (sometimes forgotten) drunken events of the night before is accurate. As a Christian, I wish I had waited for the “cleaned-up” TV version. The Lord’s name is used in vain by a main character several times. There is nudity in the ending credits. Also, it is never acceptable to steal donations, lie, drug someone’s drink, drive drunk or steal a police car. I no longer drink, and don’t condone the behavior in the film. However, it does accurately portray some twenty-somethings' wild weekends.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—David, age 44 (USA)
Positive—This is a tough movie to review. I see most movies and am not easily offended. The movie does prefer the use of the “F” word a lot. Perhaps its biggest problem, in my opinion, was the nudity. Now, the movie itself has one nude scene, and it’s about 2 seconds, if that. The woman in it shows her breast when she goes to feed a baby. Not really sure if that’s nudity, since its not sexual in nature. There’s also a 1-second scene of an older man’s, but being shown in a doctors office. But the “other nudity” takes place during the credits, and I was actually thrown off by what I saw. Besides 4-5 pictures of women topless, they also show a guy having something done to him, and I mean actually shown. That blew my mind, since this is a movie in theaters! Without that picture collage credits scene, this movie is amazingly funny, a guys movie. Definitely offensive to people that aren’t used to this kind of humor, though. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Matt, age 28 (USA)
Positive—A very hilarious and creative film that takes us through the morning following a rather interesting evening in Vegas. Nothing in this film would be unfamiliar to someone who has attended a university or gone to a bar; every person has experienced a crazy evening. Such experiences serve as a valuable learning experience during which we explore and probe our limits. The language here would not be a shock to anyone who has ridden a subway or (in the case of guys), entered a locker room.

The movie contained several positive messages, including the need for fortitude in the face of an abusive relationship (i.e. the dentist and the girl who slept with the bartender), the strength of single mothers (i.e., the stripper supporting her child), and the awful effects date rape drugs can have (i.e. the roofies that started it all). This movie also showed the strength of friendship in the face of a completely insane situation that most individuals can relate to, but perhaps not to this extent; in fact, the situations shown are a metaphor for the day-to-day idiocy we all face. The movie is rated R for a reason; that said, if by age 17 or older, anything presented is foreign or shocking, your parents have failed at raising you.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Henry Rearden, age 23 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—“The Hangover” is as the title suggests a very linear film. It reminds me of “Dude Where’s My Car” on so many levels, the least of which is the target audience. To be perfectly honest, both films have their golden moments (see if you notice the deliberate nod to “Rain Man” in Hangover), despite the debased paths the films take to get to ‘em. But what ruins the otherwise mildly offensive “Hangover” (and really substantiates its R) is the end. Where the credits should have been is a montage of the *actual* events that happened in Vegas. Use your imagination.

It’s ironic kinda. I know guys like these Hangover guys. Not in my circle of buds, but people I know nonetheless. I’ve been on a trip where the guys loose their minds and go berserk with just enough alcohol in their system. They trash their hotel and do just about everything short of the Vegas marriages, cop car robberies, and tiger kidnappings. Good grief. WE (collective term) really are a depraved society.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Keenum, age 22 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I rented this on DVD, believing it was going to be funny based on the reactions of my peers. Since Ed Helms from “The Office” was in this movie, I’d figured I’d get to see him outside of his character, Andy Bernard. I totally understood and prepared myself for the onslaught of profanity and other objectionable material that would come out of this. This film is like "National Lampoon’s Animal House" in Vegas; debauchery, profane language, and drug use are rampant. However, “Animal House” is not as bad as this film (in terms of objectionable content), but it comes close to it. There were only a select few moments when I found this film to be funny.

On the whole, it’s overrated in the humor department. I also counted over 65 uses of the F-word in the film. That alone should discourage any Christian from renting or buying this film. I am quite thankful I rented this for $5 instead of paying $10 to see it on the big screen. Quite frankly, it’s not worth the admission price, and I do regret renting this DVD due to its objectionable content.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Shannon H., age 28 (USA)
Negative—Saw it with my wife. To be honest, we stayed through it hoping it would improve. It did not. It went from bad to worse with the credits and the photos shown during them pushing it over the edge. It could have been a great movie. But instead of taking potentially funny situations and making them funnier. The producers and actors went deeper into perverse behavior with each scene.

Whatever hopes we had that the actors and celebrities that appeared might be, after all, decent people. The photos in the credits proved that wrong. I would be ashamed to have my baby, child or family member appear in such a film. It was nothing more then a way to slip in porn and profanity. The only problem with the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” theme is that this garbage got out of Vegas and is polluting screens across America. Anyone that goes to Caesars in Vegas after seeing this film is clearing sponsoring this kind of filth.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—William, age 40 (USA)
Negative—Well, as far as comedies goes…this is funny…in a sick, perverted way! I went with a friend and since it was her birthday I didn’t leave, my mistake. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the swear words alone, and that is not talking about the times they took the Lord’s Name. The amount of Sexual Garbage in this movie is a disgrace, and the way these guys acted when intoxicated was stupid. The end clips of this movie was the worst, absolutely perverted and sick. Adults who love porn and swearing and who Don’t know anything about what’s right and wrong…might get a kick out of this movie. But for all others…How far do you have to go to see a good comedy…Not This Far! BTW: There was a parent in the movie with a 12 year old boy and they were loving it. Wonder what will become of that child when he gets older. What his priorities will be!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Sherrie, age 32 (Canada)
Negative—All I can say is that my wife went to watch this movie with a friend. She is a little naive at times to the world. Not really focusing on the movie’s title (which she had never heard of anyway), she went to comfort a friend who is going through very rough marital problems and gave no consideration, at least not at length, to the title. When she entered the house some three hours later, she was crying and extremely upset. The movie apparently has full frontal and rear male nudity in several positions, along with female top nudity. From what she explained, the movie was more NC-17 to XXX than it was ‘R’ (probably NC-17… I did see the commercial). If you take anyone, including yourself to see this movie, shame on you. We are Christians, not movie goers. It is time for us to lead by example. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive
—James, age 39 (USA)
Negative—…the most horrible movie I have seen my whole life, and I am 55 years old. I am appalled that any Christians rated this movie positive. Each character is totally vile and horrible. There is a scene where the bearded, perverted character is in a vehicle to go with the other 2 guys to pick up the 4th guy from his teaching job at a high school. The pervert comments he is not allowed to go within 50 yards of a school, because of his sex perversion conviction. None of the others think anything about how disgusting an individual he is. This same pervert spikes the drinks of the others with the date rape drug, which is why no one can remember what they did the night before. During the movie the pervert is the focus of much of the attempted humor. In one scene, he is roomed up with one of the 4. He comes into the room wearing a jock strap. The camera makes it a point to intimately focus on the crack of his rectum. Of course, he throws himself on his new friend, telling him how great it is for him to be there. He hugs the other guy, while basically being bottomless. His character is so repulsive, no normal person would put themselves in the position to be in an intimate setting with him, especially when all of them are blind drunk and out of their minds due to the date rape drug.

When a baby is found in the room, the first suggestion is to leave the baby in a closet with the belief the baby would eventually be found. But they decide to take the baby with them, which turns out terrible for the baby. The baby is carried by the perverted sex offender in a papoose and is in intimate contact with the pervert through a large part of the movie. During a scene, the pervert sets the baby in a chair next to him. He reaches over to the front of the baby’s diaper and jerks his hand back and forth. He laughs and asks, do you know what this is? He says, the baby is masturbating. He reaches over and does it a second time. None of the characters react to stop this from happening. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Tim, age 55 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—It’s called “The Hangover.” Okay? For the people so easily offended by movies today, why would you think a movie called The Hangover would be all warm and fuzzy. It’s called The Hangover. By the way, the movie is one of the funniest films you will ever see. But it will offend. Oh yes, it will offend. But to those people who are easily offended and complain about the vulgarity of this movie, it’s called “The Hangover.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jeff, age 17 (USA)
Positive—This movie was hilarious!!! The use of f*ck, sh*t, b*tch, *ss, and taking the lord’s name in vain really made me mad. I’m not easily offended, but this movie had a lot of problems. I really liked some of the parts, because they were funny and entertaining! Overall, an okay movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jacob Atkinson, age 14 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
I have not viewed this movie and have no desire to. But I have to say that I laughed my head off at Ethan Samuel Rodgers' review. It was very well written and if what he says about the movie is true, then very likely, the best part of this movie is this review.
—Robert Dietrich, age 37 (USA)
Have not “seen” this movie, however I have heard it as a co worker was watching it on his computer in the same room. (Don’t ask) I don’t need to see it to know what a piece of garbage smells like. I don’t understand particularly why a Christian would even consider going to a movie with an R rating for language and nudity. I got rid of my TV due to the unrighteousness contained there and I don’t miss it. I certainly don’t miss the movie theatre. I appreciate your movie reviews from a Christian viewpoint which allows persons who care about morality and the loss of same to make informed choices before renting or viewing. Garbage in does indeed make garbage out. Prov. 4:14-19—“Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on. 16 For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; And their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. (Hollywood) For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.” Lord bless your work for Christ.
—Richard, age 52 (Canada)
Negative—I have not seen the movie, but did unfortunately hear a good portion of the dialog as I sat in my bedroom and my wife, nephew, son and daughter watched the movie on DVD in the living room. I knew that any movie titled “Hangover” and rated R would not be something that would be entertaining to me, nor would it be a movie that as a Christian I could support. What was extremely disappointing was the fact that my wife, kids and nephew enjoyed the movie without reservation. My suggestion to those of you who think watching this kind of filth is OK is to read Matthew 7:21-23. Starting in verse 22: “Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evil-doers!” …The problem these days is that many people want to call themselves Christians, but they don’t want any kind of responsibility to go along with being a Christian. Sorry, but that’s not how being a Christian works. The Bible tells us to “flee iniquity” not to embrace it. By watching and enjoying movies such as this people are embracing Satan. When a Christian hears the words “God Da__ it” it should make you cringe, not laugh. Imagine that Jesus is sitting next to you as you watch “The Hangover.” What do you think his response would be? You don’t need me to answer that for you, just search your heart.
—Brian, age 46 (USA)
Negative—My husband is watching part one right now, because he “heard” many people talking about how funny it was. I begged him, don’t watch it… he’s sitting in there right now. You don’t have to watch a perverse movie, such as that, to know you may laugh a little, but at what expense of your soul, heart and mind. I’m hurt by the lack of honor towards me. It’s hurts bad.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—G, age 33 (USA)