AWFJ Women On Film -“The Hangover” – Susan Granger reviews

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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.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.