Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A funny cure for Hangover

The Hangover skims over a territory soiled by a million B-grade comedies – bachelor parties, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, road trip, etc. To be honest, it falters a little here and there but largely sails smoothly over the dredges of clichés and unfunny slapstick muck; and tells the same clichés in a refreshingly funny manner.

It largely owes its success to a good script and having some genuine actors for start – being totally anonymous to me, they came without any baggage – there was nothing I expected from them and, to be honest, they almost blew my socks away.

Stu, the Jew, suffers from some clichés. A Holocaust-survivor grandmother’s ring, a girlfriend made in hell, and his own denial – the bit about actors discussing how his gf cheated on him and how he tries to extenuate it every time could have been avoided as it’s a standard gag from every unfunny comedy with a henpecked character I have ever seen. Yet when not trying to do the denial gag, he brings a lot of character to an otherwise routine character. Ditto for Phil, suave yet fallible, who reminds me a lot of Church(Jack) in Sideways. There’s also a nicely-added touch to him in the end when it’s shown that despite all his marriage-phobic stunts in Vegas, he’s a happily-married dad – done pretty subtly for a goofball genre.

Alan, of course, gets the cream of the role. His is a character who can be goofy in a thousand ways, so mixed is his story, and the way Zach interprets does justice to the scriptwriter who created this character. A little more could have been done with it but I guess it would have totally taken the focus out of the rest of the story. A stretched example but during the making of the Padosan, after seeing KK’s interpretation of the character, Mahmud and Sunil Dutt had to majorly rethink their own characters lest the movie and the plot be totally hijacked by the great KK. Similarly, I read somewhere how Danny DeVito’s character’s scenes had to be shortened in Get Shorty to bring the spot back on Travolta’s Chili Palmer – in the few scenes together, you can see how Danny totally burns the screen in front of stalwarts like Gene Hackman, Rene Russo and Travolta.

But in all, Zach does a fine job in playing Alan. The scene where he confronts a nasty looking boy he just provoked some time ago facing him with a stun gun in his hand, the face frowning and puzzled, still uncomprehending the disaster coming his way bang on, is classic! That, it tells us, is what the problem with Alan is -- a thousand times better than the scene when Stu tells him he's too stupid to insult.

Doug – the white one – underplays his own role magnanimously. Compared to the three main actors his is only a minor part, even though he best fits the movie description of a leading man.

Doug – the black one – still believes he’s the black man in a B grade comedy and is unfunny and bad.

My only peeve would be that they didn’t go for the whole hog. It could have avoided some of the clichés and nudity and it would have been a classic.

The ending credits where the actual bachelor party is shown in snaps underlines the essence of why this movie scored. It did not show the bachelor party because it did not have a script for it – the slide show clearly explains all what had happened – but because the sophomoric gags which usually accompany comedies based on Bachelor parties (Tom Hank’s ‘Bachelor Party’ being one of the better examples) was not the point of this movie. It takes a script corrupted by scores of cheap unfunny comedies and weaves something more sophisticated out of the tired gags.

Watch this movie to see how those horribly executed gags should have been done. And that's it's still possible to have a good bachelor comedy if you do not let Seth Rogen within a hundred miles of it.


gayatri said...

eeeeeeeeeeeee! Don't go discecting the movie. Just go to the theatre without ur brains and enjoy the show. And if you had watched this movie after watching Kambht Ishq, you would have appreciated my point much better!

ramya sriram said...

nice review. hey i like the way your writing flows, i noticed in this post.