By all rights, THE HANGOVER should have been a minor success that did satisfactory box office and lived on through beer-laden guys' night viewings. The marquee boasts no big-name stars, and the premise--an alcohol-soaked bachelor party--seems tried and tired. But OLD SCHOOL director Todd Phillips's boys-night-out comedy is a blockbuster revelation that revels in raunchy jokes and happily leaves the border of propriety behind. Groom-to-be Doug (Justin Bartha, NATIONAL TREASURE) has planned an epic night in Las Vegas with his two best friends, Phil (Bradley Cooper, YES MAN) and Stu (Ed Helms, THE OFFICE), and his fiancée's awkward brother, Alan (comedian Zach Galifianakis). But it turns out that they partied a little too hard: Phil, Stu, and Alan wake up the next morning with a missing groom, a tiger in the hotel-room bathroom, a baby in the closet, and no memory of the night before.
Though the funny script glories in the gutter, the credit for most of the film's laughs goes to the excellent cast. Phillips's OLD SCHOOL had Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, and Luke Wilson, but even though THE HANGOVER's cast members aren't A-listers (yet), they're just as talented. Cooper and Helms have gotten laughs in WEDDING CRASHERS and THE OFFICE, respectively, but the perfectly awkward Galifianakis is a hilarious surprise. THE HANGOVER is sure to please everyone in the audience, except the easily offended who will cringe from the film's foul first moments to its over-the-top closing credits.