Men Behaving Badly

A bachelor party goes horribly wrong in The Hangover

The Hangover *** Opens Friday areawide

After a brief surge in the '70s (with films like Animal House, The Longest Yard and Slap Shot), the Guy Movie took a hit in the '80s, as the Teen Movie and the Chick Flick vied for bucks at the theater. The past few years have seen a strong return of the Guy Movie, with Old School, Wedding Crashers and every single Judd Apatow film catering to the facial-hair-and-testicles set.

The Hangover — the new and very funny comedy by Old School director Todd Phillips — takes the kitchen-sink approach to the Guy Movie. Everything you could possibly want in a Guy Movie is here: strippers, hookers, quickie marriages, guns, drugs, booze, used condoms, naked Chinese men, fast cars, puke, public urination — even a Mike Tyson cameo!

A pre-titles sequence sets the scene: Four men are stranded in the desert, beaten, bruised and bloodied. One of them calls a bride-to-be on his cell, informing her that her wedding — just hours away — isn't going to happen. The groom is "lost."

Flashback two days earlier, when four men — groom Doug (National Treasure's Justin Bartha), his best friend Stu (The Office's Ed Helms), buddy Phil (Bradley Cooper, who played Rachel McAdams' dick boyfriend in Wedding Crashers) and the bride's loser brother Alan (standup comedian Zach Galifianakis in a breakout performance) — are prepping for Doug's bachelor party in Las Vegas.

They borrow Alan's dad's prized vintage Mercedes and some cash from teacher Phil's student-field-trip fund, and hit the road. They check into a $4,200-a-night suite, go to the roof for a celebratory drink and ... wake up the next morning, not remembering a thing. Including how a tiger got in their bathroom, why they now have a baby and where they left Doug.

They spend the rest of the movie piecing together their forgotten night. Slowly, they uncover clues that lead them on one Vegas adventure after another, part of it in a stolen police car.

The Hangover pretty much raises the bar on the Guy Movie. Unlike Wedding Crashers, Knocked Up, et al., women don't figure much into the mix here; they're either girlfriends, wives, fiancées or strippers. The guys constantly take swipes at each other — dentist Stu's friends call him "Dr. Faggot" — and act the way they think guys should act, which only leads them deeper into trouble. It's one of the funniest movies of the past couple of years, with enough testosterone to power Caesars Palace. And be sure to stick around for the end credits, which include hilarious photos of the guys' lost night. It somehow turns out to be just as wild as the one we saw onscreen.

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