Occasionally, those Coming Attractions trailers can be deceiving. In this case, what looks like yet another dumb, dirty buddy comedy turns out to be an outrageously funny one – in the profane, nudity-studded, R-rated Judd Apatow vein of “Knocked Up.”
It begins with a prologue that leads into an extended flashback. Two days before he’s scheduled to marry Tracy (Sasha Barrese), her dad (Jeffrey Tamor) gives Doug (Justin Bartha) the keys to his cherished, vintage convertible for a bachelor-party road trip to Las Vegas with his three groomsmen. Phil (Bradley Cooper), an arrogant high school teacher, and Stu (Ed Helms, a nervous dentist, are his two best friends, while Alan (Zach Galifiankis), a vulnerable weirdo, is his eager-to-be-accepted future brother-in-law.
Problem is: when they wake up in their $4,000 a night suite at Caesars Palace, Doug has vanished. And there’s a Bengali tiger belonging to Mike Tyson in the bathroom, a screaming six-month-old baby in the closet, plus $100,000 worth of damage. In addition, Phil discovers a hospital tag on his wrist; Stu has a missing tooth, not to mention a pole-dancer bride (Heather Graham); and the claim tag they give to the parking valet is for a Vegas police car. The last thing they remember is sharing a celebratory drink on the roof. So the trio must endeavor to retrace their steps to figure out what went wrong – while the clock is ticking toward the upcoming ceremony in Los Angeles.
Rather than succumbing to the obvious clichés of the male-centric genre, screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (“Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”), along with director Todd Phillips (“Old School”) deftly keep the mischievous surprises – and celebrity cameos – coming, as the trio tries to resolve Doug’s disappearance. As a non-spoiler side-note, actor Ed Helms was so determined that his toothless scenes look realistic, that he had his dentist remove one of his own teeth (actually an old implant) during the filming. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Hangover” is a raunchy, ruthlessly naughty 7. It’s all buzz – no headache, and stick around for the credits that slip you one last disclosure.