The Hangover

Posted on December 15, 2009 at 8:03 am

When things go wrong for us, it’s tragedy. When they go wrong for someone else, it’s funny. As Alan Dale says, comedy is a man in trouble. This comedy gives us four men in a lot of trouble following a debauched, drug-fueled bachelor party in Las Vegas who wake up with no recollection of what happened and no idea what has happened to one’s missing tooth, another’s missing mattress, and, most significantly, no groom. The one whose wedding is being celebrated, the one whose wedding is taking place the next day, has disappeared.

Meanwhile, there are some items in the trashed hotel room with the still-smoking chair that no one recalls having seen before, including a chicken, a tiger, and an infant. At the beginning of the evening, they toasted “to a night the four of us will never forget.” By the next morning, the three remaining guys cannot remember anything that happened, and the rest of the movie has them racing all over to figure out where they went, what they did, and how the groom managed to disappear without a trace.

In one respect, it’s just a cheerfully outrageous comedy, with much of the humor coming from our discovering along with the hapless trio of boy-men chafing at the bonds of civilization just how appallingly they have violated every possible standard of appropriate behavior and good taste. It’s your basic best of both worlds comedy where we get to see our most childish wishes fulfilled and then get to see the characters on screen suffer the punishment for it. But it is also a whacked-out variation on “The Wizard of Oz,” with characters in need of a heart, a brain, and courage going on a journey to an exotic land and learning that there’s no place like home.

Doug (Justin Bartha) is about to get married and so his two best friends take him to Las Vegas for one last bachelor blow-out. They are Phil (Bradley Cooper), a teacher who is married with a son and says that he hates his life in need of a heart, and Stu (“The Office’s” Ed Helms) an uptight dentist who is about to propose to his controlling, unfaithful shrew of a girlfriend, who needs some nerve. That leaves Alan (comedian Zach Galifianakis) who is lacking brains. He’s along for the ride because he is the bride’s brother. And the gorgeous mint-condition Mercedes convertible is what they are riding in, thanks to what is inevitably going to be shown to be a very foolish gesture on the part of the prospective father-in-law. The wicked witch part, of course, is shared by nearly every woman on screen.

Cooper is a comic actor trapped in the very appealing body of a leading man and Helms (who gamely had his fake tooth removed for authenticity) provides able counterpoint as the conflicted Stu. Galifianakis looks like a cross between a Hobbit and a garden gnome and a little of him goes a long way, but he manages to be less obnoxious than expected. And they run into an engaging variety of characters along the way including an emergency room doctor, a drug dealer (Mike Epps), an effeminate gangster, an earthy wedding chapel manager, and of course an “escort” with a heart of good (a very game and, as ever, alluring and adorable Heather Graham).

The film’s most disappointing element is its casual sexism. Aside from the escort, all of the women come across as shrewish and narcissistic. But other than that, like predecessors “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express,” the movie has an essential sweetness that disinfects its raunchiest moments.

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53 Replies to “The Hangover”

  1. I was tempted to accuse “The Hangover” of being sexist until I realized all the men come off looking just as bad as the women. It has been a while since I’ve so intensely disliked a movie’s protagonists. In addition to the cheap, debasing humor on display, these belligerent buffoons made it downright miserable to endure the 100-minute running time.

  2. Thanks, Dustin! I saw in your review that you really didn’t like this film. As you saw, I liked it more than you did and I’m going to be writing more about it this weekend, so stay tuned.

  3. My fifteen-year-old son loves Ed Helms (from “The Office”) and very much wants to see this flick. We are not going to take him and he probably won’t be able to get in by himself, but this film again raises the realization that we parents are beginning to lose some control. I didn’t let our teen see the film “The Reader,” which he desperately wanted to view and argued hard for (“But Mom, it’s a quality movie! It’s been nominated for Academy Awards!”), and guess what– he managed to find his way to it–with all it’s sophisticated content– on the El Al flight he took to Israel with his Hebrew school class! Ha! More and more, I find myself trying to guide and nurture, but he ends up eventually seeing many of the things we wish he wouldn’t. His peer group is of no help as many of his friends’ parents are more permissive than we are. We’re not giving up, but we’re increasingly finding ourselves talking out the adult content, sharing our viewpoints on language and conduct…Anyone else have any ideas? Yours, CM

  4. I am upset at your review. I do trust you and don’t consider myself a “prude” but my wife and I saw the movie and was shocked at the pictures at the end. I expected a Porky’s type of movie but not full frontal nudity with a male erection displayed in an R rated movies. I think you might set some line as a concerned parent and member of the Beliefnet Network. How far are we going to push the R limit? Yes your review warned about nudity but we never expected the detail. We both agreed it could have been a funny and enjoyable adult movie but the ending ruined it for both of us.

  5. You are right, Bruce. I should have mentioned the photographs and will amend the review. As you will see, I have another post about the movie coming up on the site that addresses the credit sequence but I should have done so in the review as well.

  6. Bruce, lighten up. That was the best part of the whole movie & the best credit rolling I’ve ever seen. There’s a reason the movie is rated R, don’t take any of your kids under 18 to see it.

  7. Bri – I realize it is rated R. There are also X rated movies and I believe that frontal nudity with a male erection would come under that – what in your mind would be the difference between X and R today.

  8. Oh, Chattering, I have so been there! If you had not told me your son was 15, I could have figured it out from the description. He is right on schedule and this is the essence of 15 year old behavior.
    You are right to recognize that you are approaching a time when you will no longer be able to control what he sees. Even if you can keep him from seeing it in a theater, in a few months he can watch it at a friend’s house on DVD or cable — or an airplane. I think you and his father should sit down with him and see if you can agree on some guidelines so that each film will not be a separate negotiation and so the three of you can find some common ground on what kinds of arguments will and will not work. Certainly the quality argument he made for “The Reader” does not apply to “The Hangover.” I’d argue that the literary merits and previous work of the actors or director are not relevant (as is what everyone else is doing, but we already know that); the decision must be based on the content and your sense that he has reached a developmental (not just intellectual) level of maturity that will make the more challenging material contextual and not distracting. Make it clear that whatever it is, you will watch it, too, so that when he does see it, your own reaction will be in his head. And good luck!

  9. Why was my post deleted ??????????? It talked about material which was in the film and I asked questions as to why it was there ?

  10. I have no interest in seeing this film with its crudeness and male frontal nudity. I find this film to represent a double standard. It features male frontal nudity, including a disgusting picture at the end of the credits, but no female frontal nudity. The double standard is represented when the guys, on a bachelor trip, go to a strip club. In that case it would certainly be in context to show female frontal nudity. However, they choose not to do so but have no problem with exposing the male. I also find that an NC-17 picture at the credits in an “R” rated movie is completely unacceptable. I beleive it is time for films to start showing males in a more positive light instead of crude, booze drinking, exhibitionist.
    P.S. I apologize for my previous post. I reread it and realized I was “over the top” ranting. Thanks

  11. I plan to see this film in the next couple of weeks. Some of my favorite recent comedies (“Bad Santa,” and “The 40 Year Old Virgin”) were both too raunchy for children or young teens (or even late teens, perhaps) and also essentially sweet-natured. I’m hoping that “The Hangover” fits in this category.
    As I said on a thread below, my 16 year old niece’s favorite television show is “House.” We might be surprised at what teens can handle.

  12. Tim, I cautioned you earlier that I would not accept any further comments on this subject, which is why I deleted your previous post. I will permit this one, but I will state again that I believe we have more than covered our different points of view on this subject and I do not like to have comments on a movie the poster has not seen. You have made your views very clear and do not need to reiterate them further.

  13. This is a site to express one’s feelings about the film and what is covered within that film. Why would you censor someone exprressing their feelings about something which they find offensive? Things are not changed unless feelings and opinions are “put out there.” I realize you don’t agree but I believe it has become a major inequality. Maybe if the films didn’t include such material then there wouldn’t be any need for comment. I believe no one wants censorship. What I will promise to do, however, is not to focus on that one point. I will express my feelings and then move on to another point of the film.

  14. I cannot fathom why this movie wasn’t rated NC-17 and I was surprised by the mildness of your review. This movie is disgusting on so many levels. Making the baby look as if it were masterbating is supposed to be humorous? It is borderline child molestation as far as I’m concerned. My husband and I were not laughing. Also the scene in the ER where the doctor continues to examine an older man in front of strangers while he is naked? That is funny? I don’t find a poor sick aging man being made fun of humorous. I, like Bruce, do not consider myself a prude but society has seemingly lost it’s common sense. I didn’t understand the chinese man (naked in the trunk of the car) who appeared to have no male genetailia, Sorry but not sure how that fits into the comedic story line. The pictures during credits were appalling. I imagine the only way they were able to show a full frontal blow job was because it was a still and not a moving picture? That is what I expect to see in a porno. Not an R movie. How about redefining what an R movie is supposed to be. I really felt abused by not being warned with an NC-17 rating. I would have skipped this disaster. I am also saddened that the writers have such a lack of creativity they can’t use words. Every other word is a cuss word. How about bringing back language? It can be funny believe it or not. Everything else upsetting has already been pointed out by other comments so I’ll end here.

  15. Thanks very much — your comments will be helpful to people who are trying to decide if this movie is right for them. I did make it clear in my review that it is an extremely raunchy and outrageous film. And I am sorry to say that what used to get an X or NC-17 now gets an R. This is based on the MPAA’s assessment of what is considered acceptable on television, in newspapers and magazines, on radio, and elsewhere in the increasingly coarsened culture. That is why I try to be very clear about the content of the film, to give people a better idea of what to expect than they can get from the ratings.
    I am sorry you were disappointed by the film but I really appreciate your taking the time to write.

  16. Why are you sorry I was disapointed? Weren’t you? I find it hard to believe that any parent wouldn’t be upset by the numerous insults and actions that were just wrong wouldn’t be outraged?
    Young girls in a class room being taught it is ok to aim at male genetalia with a taser gun?
    I have completely given up on thinking we live is a civilized society. Why didn’t they just go ahead and have the baby getting a blow job? Absolutely disgusting movie. You really should reconsider giving it a D. It saddens me that the movie has done so well and just proves that we have de-evolved as a whole.

  17. I was sorry you had a different experience than the one you were expecting. I am always sorry when anyone is unhappy about a movie-going experience and I encourage people to leave and get their money back if they find the movie is not what they wanted to see.
    But I am not sure what you thought you were going to see or what about the movie’s advertising led you to think it would be different. As you can see in my review, I do not in any way think it is suitable for children or teens or many adults. It is part of a popular genre of very raunchy and outrageous comedies that do very well — as raunchy and outrageous comedies have done since the times of ancient Greece. Crotch humor has been with us, I would bet, since the cave days, and will be with us long after we’re flying to work in spaceships. I did not give it a grade for family-friendliness but for how well it meets its own aspirations for its intended audience.
    Within that genre, for reasons I explain further in my blog post comparing the movie to the ostensibly less outrageous “Land of the Lost” (rated PG-13), I found it above average, in part because most of the movie was so thoroughly and definitively on the side of finding the behavior it depicted to be wrong and foolish. The men were punished at every turn (including being tasered) for their bad judgment and came away sadder but wiser. That does not suggest that I consider this to be a morality tale or that I would recommend it as a good depiction of values; but I do think that this perspective was necessary to make it work as a film, as was true of the other hugely successful raunchy films like “American Pie,” “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Superbad.” But that certainly does not mean they are for everyone, just as even a very good horror movie or indeed any other genre is for anyone.

  18. What do you people expect from this movie, it’s not Shakespeare. Movies like this make good money because that is what a large demographic wants to see. Do some research before you go see the movie you bunch of nuns!
    And we haven’t de-evolved, there are still great movies made on a regular basis but sometimes people just want to sit back and let their stupid out.

  19. Thanks, Jason, I appreciate the comment, and I’m glad you enjoyed the movie! But a reminder — no insulting other commenters.

  20. Nell makes comments defending movies that clearly defend no spiritual ethics of any culture, except maybe the gay male culture, and a small segment of angry feminists.
    So why is this.
    Lets do the math.
    The U.S. Population is about 300,000,000
    The population of that percentage that is gay is 10% so 30,000,000
    The price of a movie ticket , approx $8
    So $8 multiplied by 30,000,000 is $240,000,000
    So you see the numbers reflect the fact they can survive on the gay population only, the movie industry can be offensive to the population at whole if they want, Nell caters to this crowd because they pay her bill.

  21. “Mirror,” if your notion of piety and spiritual ethics produce a comment like this one, without any evidence of generosity, kindness, or honor, I am saddened to see it. Your comment is inappropriate in every category, starting with distortion of the facts and continuing through prejudice and insult.
    First, if you read my review of this film and my other comment in a different post, you will see my point that one reason it is so successful is that it meets our innate need to see people punished for bad behavior. 90% of the movie is the terrible consequences of the bad choices made by the characters (portrayed in a comedic manner). If 90% of the movie was about the behavior itself, it would not be the overwhelming success that it is. Second, the movie’s themes are not especially gay-friendly and there is no indication that its audience is primarily gay, so I really have no idea what point you are making. It appears to be “the population as a whole” that is buying tickets — a large percentage of sales are to straight couples on dates. Finally, the outright nastiness and bigotry of your last point truly confounds me, given the fact that I write for a website devoted to spirituality that is owned by the same company that owns Fox News. You provide no basis whatsoever for my “catering” to anyone because there is none.
    I am glad to have you comment and encourage a lively discussion of relevant topics but please remember the rules of this site prohibit insult or the questioning of anyone’s motives.

  22. Where are you drawing your statistics from Nell?
    Can you site your source as supported thesis among the established academic community?
    Why are you working for NewsCorp, and why do they have a site devoted to spirituality?
    Do you tell people that you work for NewsCorp before reviewing a movie made by 20th Century Fox? I ask because 20th Century Fox is owned by NewsCorp.
    Have you seen the movie This Film Is Not Yet Rated?
    Do you agree, the MPAA is nothing more then a movie mafia?
    And if you don’t agree, how do you explain movies such as “Lust for Dracula”, which is rated “R”? It’s almost nothing but two hours of nude females and includes many explicit vulva shots?
    Why is the MPAA being paid to rate PORN???

  23. Hello, SuzzyQ and thanks for the questions.
    Warner head of distribution Dan Fellman was quoted in the press as saying that “Hangover” found a broad audience split almost evenly between men and women and those over and under 25. I am not sure that this would qualify for inclusion in an academic study but generally the studio reports are considered reliable enough to be relied on in press accounts.
    I have no problem giving Fox movies and television shows bad reviews, as you will see if you read through my site. When News Corp bought Beliefnet, they made it clear that there would be no editorial interference and there hasn’t been any. If you see any evidence of bias, let me know.
    I have seen “This Film is Not Yet Rated” (at the MPAA’s screening room, as it happens) and have discussed it with MPAA head Dan Glickman. I have made it clear to him and in multiple posts on my site, including one just a couple of days ago, and in my radio broadcasts and interviews that I think the MPAA ratings board does a very poor job for the reasons documented in the film and others.
    I hope this answers your questions. Thanks for the comment and I hope you will return often and let me know what you think of the movies you see.

  24. Thank you for you gracious and encouraging remarks. The fair balance of your response to my questions were appreciated, and I have a few more.
    I am not alone in believing, as do like minded people finding their own voice, that “generally the studio reports are considered reliable enough to be relied on in press accounts.” This would only be RELIABLE if the STUDIO and the PRESS’s opinion were based on truth and that it is not what it is based on.
    In statistics class, in college, I learned that the media manipulates the statistical data so as to cater to their own personal, financial, and commercial goals. The MPAA, supplies their version of the facts to the media and the media adds their version and they twist it together for RATINGS of THEIR media. Remember Fatty Arbuckle?
    I deduce, that the data from your reliable sources, most likely has been skewed and thus, UNreliable…:)
    From a site that is finding its voice against the MPAA, I read the following critic and I feel it fits the flow of open free truthful dialogue.
    “Regarding the MPAA all we need mention is the censorship of _The Cooler_. In _This Film Is Not Yet Rated_, Monica Bellucci speculates that the cause of the NC-17 is her pubic hair. In Kirby Dick’s audio commentary, he mentions that one MPAA board member shouted during the screening, “It’s not because of the pubic hair, it’s because his head is between her legs!” Why is a woman’s head between a man’s legs now R-rated, and not a man between a woman’s legs?”
    The question above and the questions that you did not answer from original post, are valid and worthy of your consideration and time. I consider that you have opened doors in your life TO opportunity by Asking Questions, and I am doing the same. On my quest, there are no wrong questions.
    1) Do you agree, the MPAA is nothing more then a movie mafia?
    2) And if you don’t agree, how do you explain movies such as “Lust for Dracula”, which is rated “R”? It’s almost nothing but two hours of nude females and includes many explicit vulva shots?
    3) Why is the MPAA being PAID to rate PORN???
    Speaking of quest…what QUESTIONS in your quest brought you to be a movie review critic?
    Where is your passion’s roots in the film industry? The dialogue or lack of? The music? The visual effects or the lack of them? The fantasy? The reality? The popcorn…:)?
    My passion is to aid fellow minds in finding their voice and creating a swell that will result in a “Boston Tea Party”. United for the voice of EQUALITY, for CHANGE, and to abolish UNFAIR representation of these little GIANTS…:) Good day.

  25. I’m with you, SuzzyQ, a big fan of questions of all kinds. And I am delighted that you are an independent thinker who questions assumptions with skepticism but not cynicism.
    I don’t take anyone’s data for granted, especially when it is self-serving, but I follow box-office analysis regularly and believe that the studio’s assessment of the audience for “Hangover” is accurate in this case. We will see more over time, but it is consistent with very strong and extended box office returns, other industry reports, and the feedback I get from being at the theater almost every weeknight and what I hear from the people who read and hear my reviews. Do you have any reason to believe that the audience for this film is any different from what he said?
    I am not sure what you think the MPAA is, but if you’ve seen the Kirby Dick movie you should know that it is a private organization made up of the major movie studios. Private organizations can do whatever they want as long as they don’t violate the law, so that is the answer to your question about who pays them to do whatever it is they do. I do not think that makes the comparison to the Mafia a valid one, but you can use your own judgment. I will caution you that just as you do not want to rely on the overheated conclusions of others you should make sure your own credibility is unquestionable by being very careful with your characterizations.
    I am not going to try to justify the MPAA’s rating for any movie, including “Lust for Dracula,” because I have already said I do not approve of or endorse their approach or process. Indeed, a significant part of what I do on this site is explain the material in the film to make up for what the ratings lack.
    Like you, I am lucky enough to be able to follow my passions. I love movies, I love to write, I love to think and engage in discussions about culture, policy, and values. As regular readers of this site know, I have another job that also permits me to follow my passions for justice and change in business and finance. Last week, I met with the Secretary of the Treasury and testified before Congress on the subject of excessive executive compensation and its role in the financial meltdown.
    I strongly support your free-thinking commitment to questioning authority and assumptions and hope that it will lead you to find trustworthy sources of data and judgment. Thanks again for your lively comments and all best wishes.

  26. I wish you (Nell) would ban those 2 or 3 people (that change their names sometimes -but you can tell it’s them) that spam movie websites! The ones that say penis bad, vulva good, they think there’s a conspiracy and the whole bit. It’s been shown in other sites they posted, that these instigators have some real sexual/mental problems they need resolved! People always have to set them straight and they’re so blind to the truth. Remember “The Rocker” review? STOP YOUR STUPID SPAM!!! Take care of your ‘special’ needs in your room or bathroom and leave everyone else OUT OF IT! THANK YOU!

  27. Thanks very much, TW. I try to be welcoming of a wide range of comments and opinions, as long as people are civil (reminder to you, too, no insulting other commenters), but I have made it clear that I am not accepting any further comments on the issue of comparative male/female nudity in films and will delete any further posts on that subject.

  28. Nell, I didn’t want to be insulting to them, but they don’t listen to logic and even they just want to ask you questions pretending its out of curiousness, and the questions are slanted/jaded/illogical to make there stupid pointless point. Thanks and have a good one!

    You could make your forum a video response forum only, so the person must sit in front of a web cam to post comments, that way people can not pretend to be multiple users.
    Now if we could just find a way to weed out the fanboys who make comments on movies because they are being paid to do so, that would stop a tremendous amount of spam. =D

  30. Always great to hear from you, SuzzyQ! I wish we had the capacity to include video comments, maybe someday. I do delete obvious trolls and comments that violate my rules on courtesy, but I also enjoy engaging with commenters and have had some great experiences getting them to re-think some of their remarks (and attitudes), even become quite friendly with a few.

  31. suzzyq agrees? no more spam about conspiracies on these sites? thank you sweet jezus!

  32. TW
    As conspiracies go, I’m sure that two people cannot post everything that has to do with human sexuality on every movie web site on the internet. Thank you for not including people like me, that are speaking UP and OUT, in your conspiracy theory.
    You state that you are reading posts from every movie review site, perhaps you should rethink that activity, I’m only saying this out of kindness not to belittle you.
    If I were movie mom, I would have deleted your comments as they were very angry. Once again, out of kindness to humankind, perhaps you should re-read what you wrote for future growth.
    I do agree with you when it comes to spam, that is where I agreed with you whole heatedly.
    Movie Mom, how about doing your blog on Youtube? They are already set up to do video post and response. You could disable comments, to weed out phantom people and allow only approved video responses.
    Just a thought, but It does work. The example below is from my friend, David Spate. He has been on Youtube for 3 years or so and has 50,000 grass root subscribers. Enjoy listening to this example that reflects a balanced view of the Perez Hilton “incident” and how a real live human being can raise the awareness of an issue without being hateful, even when his view disagrees with others.
    The love pouring out from the above video is real. Think about who you could touch, Movie Mom, if you were not restricted to one form of media.
    Continue to take care as you follow your passion in the movie viewing world and beyond. SQ

  33. Thanks, SuzzyQ. While I do require civility in the comments on the site, I enjoy a lively exchange and did not have a problem with TW’s post. There are people who focus on particular issues and just leave the same comments on every site they can find and they are the ones claiming conspiracies, not TW. I share TW’s frustration about that.
    I post video clips here and on YouTube occasionally, so you can check them out and see what you think! And I am on the radio every week, too, so that is another way I reach out to people. I will look at your friend’s video and if you post any of your own, let me know. I’d love to see you.

  34. Holy Cow…are you telling me that because of complaining people, the digital images during the credits where Alan is getting oral have been censored for DVD release? I was watching it last week and saw that the images had a mosaic pattern around his mule. What is it with this cry baby world where they gotta complaing about anything and everything…so they showed an erection…OH MY GOD..END OF THE WORLD..go find real crap to be so concerned with and let the adults enjoy what they want. Don’t speak on my behalf. Exactly why I’m not having kids…I don’t want to bring them up in our world that just gets worse by the year.

  35. Well, Rich, if seeing the “mule” is that important to you, you can get the unrated edition. But must say the lack of access to explicit sexual material in an R-rated movie is the most unusual reason not to have children I can remember hearing.

  36. I dont get how so many of the comments have people complaining about how they hated the film for it’s inappropriate content. This is not a family film. What were you expecting? This film is supposed to be a raunchy comedy. Raunchy comedies are supposed to be inappropriate. They often times have bad language and a lot of sexual humor, including nudity. This film has the end credits nudity as shock value And i sure was shocked (and laughing like crazy)
    And even though this may seem like a stupid comedy, if you ignore some of the homophobic stuff, it’s actually a pretty smart comedy. It’s got some pretty interesting mystery elements, when our “heroes” try to find out where Doug is.
    I understand this isn’t the right film for everybody, but if you don’t like raunchy comedies, don’t watch em.

  37. AKenjiB — Right! Thanks for a great comment. I thought it was very funny for the reasons I explained in my review. I hear they are making a sequel!

  38. yeah i heard about that. I’m kind of skeptical. How would a sequel work? do they all get hungover again? Well, I suppose it actually could work if they do something like what Harold and Kumar did. In other words, having the characters go on a different adventure. That could work, but the film is called The Hangover. hm…

  39. Hi Nell,
    I don’t think there’s anything “casual” about sexism or homophobic content.
    My young adult children watched this (not I) and can’t believe the ease with which you could play off this kind strong stuff.
    Based on your “B” rating and the other reviews they saw, it’s surprising how strong sexism and homophobic content are so readily tolerated….
    What’s it take to get a “D”?
    Take care,

  40. Thanks, Ben! I like your comment a lot. I do make a distinction between virulent sexist and homophobic content that reflects the point of view of the movie itself; in other words the movie presents and promotes a sexist or homophobic take on the world. A movie like “Wild Hogs,” for example, fits that category and I found it very offensive. That is one way to get a D from me. I have also written a piece for the Chicago Tribune about homophobic humor in movies meant for children, which I also found offensive.
    But in the case of “The Hangover,” I felt the content was worth noting for those who would find it inappropriate, but no more worth downgrading for than the rest of the outrageous humor was. The main characters were repeatedly shown to be wrong in their judgment. ?The laughs were at their expense and more of the humor came from the consequences of those bad choices than from the choices themselves. So I did not think the context of the humor merited a bad grade.
    Thanks for writing and all best to you and your family. I’m always glad to hear from thoughtful commenters and I hope you will write again with your views on the movies your family sees.

  41. Regarding the explicit photos in this movie, it seems like the MPAA is a lot more lax regarding photos as opposed to actual “live” actors/actresses. I watched a movie called “Halloween” (2007) and in one scene, they showed a close up of a pornographic magazine which shows girls completely nude, bending over, as well as spreading open for the camera (and I’m not talking about just spreading their legs open only). Somehow, it got only an R rating with that scene intact. If I rated the movie, it should’ve been NC-17 because of that scene alone, as the magazine that was shown wasn’t like Playboy but more like Penthouse.
    Since the MPAA gave that movie an R rating, I think they couldn’t see themselves giving “The Hangover” an NC-17 rating either. The “nudity” in the explicit photos was a lot less explicit and wasn’t even real in this movie (it’s quite documented that a prosthetic was used), but the explicit nudity in Halloween showed real female genitalia in *very* pornographic angles and poses.
    Nell, would you agree that it seems like the MPAA has an “anything goes” policy regarding photos because I can’t imagine these 2 movies would only be R rated if the actors/actresses performed the same poses “live”, as opposed to photographs, or am I underestimating the MPAA’s laxness?

  42. Yes, I think this is just another example of the MPAA’s inconsistent, arbitrary, and ultimately indefensible approach, like permitting two uses of the f-word in a PG-13. Either the word or body part is appropriate for younger audiences or it isn’t. Thanks for the comment!

  43. Well it’s about time a movie has male nudity in it instead of female nudity all the time! Yea!

  44. Your all a bunch of up tight moms and dads, if you don’t want your kids to watch it here is an idea tell them hey don’t watch the hangover because i find it innapropriate oh thats right they will just laugh at you behind your back and call you over protective, crazy, and a kill joy behind your back, also this practice of helping your kids interpret things in movies that s@#t doesnt work either so why don’t you just let them watch what they will and punish them if the time comes for example all my mom said to me was don’t drink and smoke or do drugs right now and if you decide to, call me and i will come get you but that she would rather i wait until college, and to the day i have never done either im 15, and as far as not wanting your kids to be exposed to this content why don’t you spend some time in a public high school or middle school and i bet you money that what you here is no where close to this movies vulgerness.

  45. Hey, thanks, Login! I appreciate your comment. Sounds like your parents are doing a good job, treating you with respect and recognizing your good judgment. I’m not sure who you are calling uptight as if you read much on this site you’ll see we pretty much agree — parents should have the information they need to make an informed decision based on their values and the individual personalities of their children. Sometimes kids, because of their immature development, will respond poorly to parents’ rules, and “just laugh” or “call you overprotective.” Sometimes parents will need to enforce the rules. So where do we disagree? I even agree with you that parents might be shocked or disappointed by the crude behavior of teenagers, though I do not think that means that they should stop imposing limits on the content of media they are allowed to see.
    Glad you wrote, and I hope you’ll visit often and let me know what you think of the movies you see.

  46. This is the first time I have laughed so hard that I had tears in years!! And I did that several times! The theater was packed…and everyone was laughing just as hard as I was. I can’t believe it was so funny. And what I really liked was that the commercials only gave you CLUES but did NOT take anyway from the laughter!!

  47. Wow…okay, this is probably only the 2nd time I’ve ever disagreed with you, Nell. I loved this movie, don’t get me wrong, but you gave Grownups a “D” rating and pronounced it horrible but are okay with The Hangover. I allowed my kids to watch Grownups but will not allow them to watch The Hangover. I find them to be very different in their content but didn’t laugh nearly as much in this film as I did in Grownups. Perhaps it’s because I cannot relate to the characters in The Hangover. I’m not going to go to Vegas, get drunk, steal a police car, etc (don’t want to spoil too much) but I am going to hang out with friends my age with my kids at a lake house.
    As I said, I loved this movie’s humor, but I disagree with your opinion that it was a good movie. I didn’t find it especially thought-provoking and I thought it showed horrific morals. However, I still have great respect for you and your reviews. Just was surprised that you liked this film so much. lol I appreciate your honesty, tho.

  48. Thanks, donnabelle! If you loved this movie’s humor, then we didn’t really disagree! Remember, that I clearly recommended it for adults only. I thought that the structure of the film, where we see them dealing with the chaos they created without being able to remember it (and the fact that they were unknowingly given drugs that made them get out of control) was a clever way of giving us the best of both worlds — the very funny outrageous behavior and the even funnier consequences. All of them (except for Alan, I guess) learned something very important about what really mattered to them, so at the end, the morals were pretty much on target. I wonder if the sequel will be as good!

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