Film Review: Why the Movie the Hangover Is Considered a Comedy

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¶ … Hang Over": A Comedic Analysis

The movie "The Hangover" is currently the highest grossing "R" rated comedy of all time. It has grossed over $240 in theaters alone. The film itself plays on the drunken antics of four friends looking to spend their last weekend together as bachelors in Las Vegas and quickly moves from a tale of drunken debauchery to a story about trying to locate their friend and finding out the details of the previous night. The film twists and turns and provides the viewer with a hilarious insight into the four's foray the previous night. Comedies have been quite lucrative at the box office given the dreary economic and political landscape that many Americans are forced to confront on a daily basis.

Thematically, the film plays into many of the most common American hopes and fears, particularly the male gender's role in relationships and in the social fabric of a city like Las Vegas. The film ends with much redemption of spirit and of personhood, and the film's status as a comedy is never questioned since the plot is always movie and the characters have a seemingly endless supply of figurative bullets to dodge while they try to locate their lost friend so as to not be late to a wedding back home.

The theme of alcohol and alcohol consumption is apparent in the film, as its aptly-named title suggests. Most of the plot is hinged around the fact that the four friends spent a night in Vegas doing things and meeting people for whom they have no recollection of. The friends awake to the fact that one of them is missing, and as they bumble their way through the day, discovering, sometimes by accident, the actions of the previous night, they are led on a wild goose chase. The fact that the friends consumed alcohol to excess is suggested by the title itself, and the premise of them movie follows the three remaining friends in a severe hangover state. Excessive alcohol consumption by nature is physically dangerous. Culturally however, Americans regard this sort of consumption as fun and often revel in the comedic outcomes of their own drunken debauchery. This plays into the reason why the movie is considered a comedy in the first place, even though the main characters of the film have to make their way through a veritable minefield of run-ins with gang members, hospital visits, and animal attacks to find their way to their lost friend.

At one time or another, most Americans have experienced a hangover or not being able to remember what they did the previous night. Some people get into all kinds of trouble when they drink, and as apparent in the movie, other get into quite a bit of trouble. In one scene, the group of friends wakes up the next morning to find their hotel suite completely tore apart, bottles and evidence of their boozing everywhere. As they begin to explore their unfamiliar surroundings they discover, among many hilarious things, a tiger in the bathroom. This scene is perhaps one of the best examples of the film's hyperbolic take on the traditional American hangover. Shortly after the scene in the bathroom with the tiger, the men find a baby in the closet as well, which adds to the mystery and hilarity that the movie so consistently provides for the viewer. In the real world, finding a tiger or even a baby hidden in your hotel suite would not present such a comical situation. But since the audience has been conditioned to perceive the hung over group of friends as three hung over buffoons, it is quite funny to watch as they try to dodge their way around many of the problems that present themselves during their search for their lost friend.

Another key theme in "The Hangover" is the idea that Las Vegas, and the magnetism and mystique of having a bachelor party in that particular city, override the common judgment of visitors in a manner that reflects a need by the moviegoer to vicariously experience the drunken madness happening on screen. Las Vegas represents one of the last bastions of pure libertarian freedom for many Americans, and an escape from their normal everyday life. While most Americans do not experience such negative consequences with such severity as the main characters of the movie, it is still something that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Why the Movie the Hangover Is Considered a Comedy.  (2010, March 4).  Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/movie-hangover-considered-comedy/68533

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"Why the Movie the Hangover Is Considered a Comedy."  Essaytown.com.  March 4, 2010.  Accessed July 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/movie-hangover-considered-comedy/68533.