Lest someone should beat me to it---
On Friday night, Mikey J. encouraged me to see The Hangover with him. The motivation, for me, was not the film, which I was not AT ALL interested in. Rather, it was the opportunity of spending time with Mike, and the very real possibility that I could talk him into a drink or two after. My expectations actually sank when we got into the theatre, where we were surrounded by 110 guys in their 20s and 30s, all of whom clearly failed out of college because they were more committed to their frat houses than their relatively undemanding state school course schedules. But Mike said to stick it out. He said that this was JUST the audience we wanted to see this film with. He told me, with glee, that THIS was going to be a really funny movie.
Oh boy, was he right.
Now, before I talk about this movie, I want to make it clear that my conscience will not allow me to actually recommend this film to anyone. Instead, I can only tell you my experience of it. Make of this what you will:
I have only one other time ever had the feeling I had when I walked out of the theatre after this film. Remember Sin City? When I left that film, I felt shell shocked. I had been completely assaulted by violence. I couldn't tell you why that film seemed overwhelming violent to me (although I have a few ideas, which I would tell you over a beer, if you asked). But I remember feeling exhausted after it, and like I could NEVER see another film with any violence ever again.
I never could have thought that I could be equally assaulted by comedy. But I was. In this film.
There was a point in the film (and I won't tell you what that point was, so as to avoid any spoilers), when I started laughing uncontrollably and didn't stop until at least 5 minutes into the next scene. I thought I was going to be sick. It wasn't so much that the scene itself was so funny--it was more that so much horrible, horrible comedy had been heaped upon me up to that point that I lost it. And by "it" I mean both reason and control.
Don't get me wrong. I was completely offended. Particularly by one scene that actually involves a baby and physical humor. (You know, the lowest form of humor--Marx Bros humor. Where you watch someone get hurt and then laugh. But A BABY gets hurt. A BABY, people.) I did not laugh at his. I was shocked and amazed.
I don't know.
It was still funny. Funnier than anything else I can remember. Funny, people.
To add insult to injury, this film actually has sort of a smart narrative structure, and a particularly pleasing gimmick ending--an ending, which, by the way, had me wondering what a film has to do these days to be given an X rating. Because, friends, this is not your parents' R-rated movie. (Thanks to you, Kevin Smith, for taking on the MPAA--twice--and helping to almost single-handedly assure that male full frontal will be de rigueur in dude comedies for the foreseeable future.)
I know that this is not a very detailed discussion, but I don't want to ruin the experience for anyone. Should anyone choose to see this film. Which I'm not recommending. But if you do, call me. We'll compare notes.