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Todd Phillips
Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham, Sasha Barrese, Jeffrey Tambor, Ken Jeong, Mike Tyson
Writing Credits:
Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

What happened last night?

They planned a Vegas bachelor party that they would never forget. Now they really need to remember what exactly went down! A baby? A tiger? Why is one of them missing a tooth? And most of all, where is the groom?! What the guys did while partying can't compare to what they must do sober in an outrageous caper that has them piecing together all their bad decisions from the night before-- one hazy clue at a time. Director Todd Phillips (Old School) and an all-aces comedy cast tie one on... big time!

Box Office:
$35 million.
Opening Weekend
$44.979 million on 3269 screens.
Domestic Gross
$277.240 million.

Rated NR

Widescreen 2.40:1
English TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 100 min. (Theatrical Cut)
108 min. (Unrated Edition)
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 12/15/2009

• Both Theatrical and Unrated Versions of the Film
• Video Commentary with Director Todd Phillips and Actors Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms
• “Map of Destruction”
• “The Dan Band”
• “The Madness of Ken Jeong” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• “Action Mashup”
• “Three Best Friends Song”
• More Pictures from the Missing Camera
• Previews
• Digital Copy


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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The Hangover [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 16, 2009)

Over the last few years, “R”-rated comedies have enjoyed a bit of a renaissance. With flicks like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Wedding Crashers, “R”-rated yukfests aimed at adults – though still with appeal to teens – became a force at the box office.

And then came 2009’s The Hangover. The movies mentioned above did well financially, but Hangover blew away all of them. Out of nowhere, the flick with a modest budget and no bankable stars went on the gross $277 million. Not only did that make it the most successful “R”-rated comedy ever, it took over the crown as the third-biggest “R”-rated picture of any genre. It trails only The Passion of the Christ and The Matrix Reloaded.

In Hangover, we follow the aftermath of a bachelor party gone wrong. On the eve of his wedding to Tracy (Sasha Barrese), Doug (Justin Bartha) heads to Las Vegas with his buddies Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms). They also bring along Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Tracy’s socially maladjusted brother.

What could go wrong? Everything, essentially. Most of the film works as a detective story and follows the day after the guys’ big night on the town. They attempt to retrace their chaotic steps with one main goal: find Doug, who has gone mysteriously missing.

I can’t help but wish that I saw Hangover before it became a big hit. By the time I made it to the multiplex to give it a look, the film had been out for a few weeks and had already turned into a genuine hit. It received so much positive attention that I went into it with expectations of certain hilarity.

Expectations that the film failed to achieve. In fact, Hangover never vaguely came close to the anticipated level of entertainment. With all its outrageous adventures, it managed to score the occasional laugh, but it didn’t threaten to become anything more than sporadically entertaining.

Or maybe that’s just me. I guess it is just me, as the film’s success speaks for itself, and it’s clear that unlike something such as Matrix Reloaded, Hangover made its bucks due to word of mouth. With a tiny $35 million budget and no stars, no one expected a whole lot out of the film. Actually, someone must’ve figured it had decent potential or it wouldn’t have received a prime summer release date, but it’s not like this was a much-hyped entry in an established franchise. Like it or not, the flick earned its success the old-fashioned way.

I wouldn’t say I don’t like it, but I will admit that I don’t get it. Some of that simply stems from my comedic preferences, as I’m simply not a big fan of the movie’s sort of shock humor. No, not all of its gags revolve around violence, bodily functions and general social outrageousness, but most do. This isn’t a movie that gives you subtle, understated gags; it whacks you with humor of the broadest sort.

At least Hangover comes with a fairly clever structure. A more conventional tale of this sort would simply send the guys to Vegas and follow the mayhem. Instead, the film turns into a whacked-out mystery. This keeps the audience more off-guard and attentive. We don’t just find ourselves wrapped up in the gags; we get wrapped up in attempts to decipher the clues and figure out just what happened to these guys.

Overall, the actors seem fine. When a film performs as well as Hangover, it usually comes with a breakout performance. I don’t get that sense with this flick. Oh, it definitely brought more attention to its stars; in particular, Galifianakis and Helms got a real boost from it. But will they find themselves bumped to “A”-level as a result? Probably not; I don’t sense another Will Ferrell or Steve Carrell here.

Of the bunch, Galifianakis probably offers the most impressive performance. Granted, he gets the most broadly comedic role, as the oddness of Alan allows him to engage in some of the flick’s funniest moments.

Within certain limits, that is, as The Hangover just never becomes especially amusing – not for me, at least. Can $277 million worth of ticket buyers be wrong? Maybe. I won’t say that the film lacks merit, and I won’t even state that I genuinely dislike it; there’s enough entertainment to keep us occupied. I just can’t quite fathom the movie’s runaway popularity, as it’s simply not particularly funny.

The Blu-r Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

The Hangover appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the flick looked great.

Sharpness was excellent. From start to finish, the flick presented crisp, concise images without any issues connected to softness. Jagged edges and shimmering didn’t occur, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to present any problems, as the movie offered a clean image.

Colors were solid. The Vegas setting opened up some lively hues, and these came across well. The movie actually favored a somewhat subdued palette, but the circumstances ensured that the tones would be vivid. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed good delineation. Nothing problematic emerged in this terrific transfer.

As for the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, it was consistently fine but not great. Like most comedies, this one went with a pretty restrained soundfield. During some of the wilder scenes, elements like cars and gunfire moved around the room in a decent manner, though they never became especially impressive. The surrounds offered moderate reinforcement and not much more. Even with all the opportunities for wacky adventures, the mix failed to deliver a lot of pizzazz.

At least audio quality satisfied. Speech was consistently crisp and tight, without edginess or other issues. Music fared best, as the score and songs provided nice vivacity and punch. Effects didn’t have much to do, but they seemed acceptably accurate and full. Nothing here impressed, but I thought the track deserved a “B-“.

How did the picture and sound of this Blu-ray compare to the film’s DVD version? The audio was essentially a wash. The movie didn’t enjoy a dynamic soundtrack, so I didn’t think the lossless mix worked significantly better.

On the other hand, the Blu-ray’s visuals definitely exceeded those of the DVD. The latter had problems with sharpness, artifacts and general murkiness, but all those issues went goodbye with the Blu-ray. It provided significant visual improvements.

The Blu-ray includes essentially the same supplements as the DVD. One big attraction stems from the inclusion of two versions of the film. The set includes both an “Unrated Cut” of The Hangover (1:47:44) and the film’s “Theatrical Edition” (1:39:38). If you want all the details about the differences, you’ll have to wait until someone super-analyzes it on the Internet. I saw Hangover theatrically but I couldn’t discern all the changes when I watched the unrated edition.

I did notice a few, though. During the pre-party rooftop toast, Phil delivers a little proposal for a pact among the guys. Also, when the protagonists sneak the tiger out of the hotel, they interact with some other guests. At the end, Doug meets with Sid to talk about the car. None of these changes are substantial, but fans will enjoy them.

Not counting those previews and the unrated cut, all the set’s extras appear on Disc Two. The big attraction comes from a video commentary with director Todd Phillips and actors Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, story areas and the flick’s tone, and the development of various gags.

I listened to two prior Phillips commentaries; he did a solo piece for Starsky and Hutch and a group track for Old School. Both were pretty darned dull.

The commentary for Hangover works better than those two, but don’t expect much from it. The four guys interact fairly well, but they never build a real head of steam, and the details on display tend to be pretty rudimentary. We do learn a moderate amount of info about Hangover, but the track never turns into anything especially memorable or entertaining.

Note that the video commentary offers the only notable change in supplements between the DVD and the Blu-ray. However, both provide the same content. The two give us identical remarks; the Blu-ray simply allows you to watch the participants while they speak. I don’t think this adds much to the proceedings, but it’s nice to have the option.

For something interactive, we go to the Map of Destruction. This presents links to 13 of the film’s locations. When you click on them, you find various tidbits related to the spots. Some of these simply offer soundbites from the flick, but most provide short featurettes about the locations.

We find these clips for “Caesar’s Palace” (1:36), “Strip Club” (1:07), “Jail” (1:33), “Caesar’s Palace Suite” (1:12), “Best Little Wedding Chapel” (1:10), “Mike Tyson’s House” (1:44), “Hospital” (0:52), “Hard Rock Hotel and Casino” (1:02), “Desert Lot” (2:01) and “Riviera Casino” (1:53). These include remarks from Phillips, Helms, Cooper, Galifianakis, producer Dan Goldberg, production designer Bill Brzeski, property master Russell Bobbitt and actors Ken Jeong and Heather Graham. Jeong, Galifianakis and Rob Riggleman also give us notes in character.

The quality of the soundbites varies a lot. Some offer good thoughts about production design, while others just throw out dull general character tidbits. At least the pieces go by quickly, so even the less interesting ones don’t bore us for too long. Overall, these are nice additions.

Called The Dan Band, a one-minute and eight-second clip shows the band from the film’s wedding. This is a better look at the band’s performance. It doesn’t really show us anything new, but we get to see their version of “Fame” on its own. If you like the scene, give it a look.

Something similar arrives via Three Best Friends Song. It goes for one minute, 23 seconds and shows an extended version of the “impromptu” tune. Like “Dan Band”, this is fun if you like the original scene; it definitely goes considerably longer than the movie’s sequence.

We look at one of the movie’s supporting actors via The Madness of Ken Jeong. In this seven-minute, 56-second piece, we get a collection of outtakes from Jeong. His “Mr. Chow” character is one of the movie’s more amusing components, so it’s interesting to check out his improv moments.

A Gag Reel runs eight minutes, 16 seconds. I hoped this would include some good alternate lines, but that’s not the case. We find a few, but mostly it gives us the standard allotment of goofs and giggles. That makes it forgettable.

Under Action Mashup, we get a 35-second clip. This simply takes a bunch of the film’s violent moments and packages them together. I can’t say it does anything for me.

Finally, we discover More Pictures from the Missing Camera. The still gallery includes 100 shots; some of these reprise elements already found in the film. This is a nice bonus for fans who want to get a better look at the images.

The disc opens with some ads. We get promos for Blu-ray Disc, digital copies, Terminator Salvation, Four Christmases and Sherlock Holmes. No trailer for The Hangover appears here.

A separate disc provides a Digital Copy of The Hangover. This lets you transfer the movie to your computer or portable viewing device. Good for you!

Probably the biggest sleeper hit of 2009, The Hangover turned into a monster smash and the biggest-grossing “R”-rated comedy of all-time. That doesn’t make it the funniest, though. The film boasts sporadic laughs but never becomes especially amusing. The Blu-ray provides excellent visuals, reasonably good audio, and an average collection of supplements. It’s a bit disappointing that such a successful movie doesn’t include a more dynamic roster of extras, but at least the Blu-ray delivers this mediocre movie in a satisfying manner.

To rate this film, visit the Unrated Special Edition of THE HANGOVER

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main