Thursday, June 25, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
A stroke of irony fills the air in one of the parting shots of Todd Phillips’s “The Hangover,” when a character uncovers a digital camera containing evidence of a night of exploits and hands it over to Doug Billings (Justin Bartha), who suggests that he and his friends view the photos “only once” and then delete all of them from the memory card. What this scene ultimately accomplishes is two-fold: 1) it is beneficial in tying up various loose ends purposely left open throughout several integral moments of the plot; and 2) it gives certain audience members like me an outline in attempting to reach a coherent assessment of the picture as a whole. For two hours we are cheerfully pummeled into visual and verbal submission by incredibly direct dialogue, embarrassing character situations, impossibly convoluted scenarios and ridiculous plot twists. We laugh at most of them, and sometimes even laugh at the fact that we’re being so entertained by such showy nonsense. But it is nonsense purely for the moment, because once those theater lights lift and we return to reality, we are content in the notion that the experience, no matter how amusing, is over. Here is the kind of movie that rightly disposes of itself at the moment it realizes that mindless fun is only funny for a brief time, and never in multiple doses.