June 30th, 2009 by Mike Fulton

This is one of those rare movies that manages to combine complete chaos and debauchery with a complete lack of any sort of moral pretense and yet still come out with an ending that actually feels good and reasonable.

The basic idea here is that a group of 4 friends decide to go from LA to Las Vegas a few days before one of the guys gets married. It’s the last big road trip. They arrive in Vegas, check in the hotel, and then proceed to hit the town. The next thing we know, everybody but the groom is waking up in the room, hungover and with no clear memory of the previous night’s events. They must reconstruct the night before to figure out what happened and find their friend and get him back home before his wedding the next day.

Justin Bartha plays bridegroom Doug. He’s a cool kind of guy, fun-loving but not an extreme party animal. Bradley Cooper is Phil, who is just a bundle of contradictions. He’s the loudest party animal in the group, but is also a happily married family man when he’s not taking friends on bachelor parties to Vegas. Ed Helms, Andy from NBC’s The Office, is Stu, who is normally a very conservative guy who never steps farther than his over-controlling fiance allows. Finally, Zach Galifianakis plays Alan, the bride’s brother who isn’t normally a part of this circle of friends. Or any other circle of friends, since he’s really kind of a weird dude in many ways.

In supporting roles, we have Heather Graham as a… well crap I can’t say what her role is without giving stuff away. It’s really not a big role, unfortunately, and I would have liked to have seen more of her. We also have Sasha Barrese as the bride, Tracy, whom we see mostly when she’s calling to find out when everybody is getting back home for the wedding. I would have liked to have seen more of her as well.

It’s hard to talk too much about what goes on here without giving things away, and since the laughs often depend on surprise I don’t want to do that. The bottom line is, however, that this is a damn funny movie. But it’s not even a little bit subtle, so if you prefer a drier sort of humor you’d best look elsewhere. This movie’s humor is more of the hit-you-in-the-face with a Whiffle-ball bat sort of funny. And beyond that, the humor is also frequently somewhat crude and vulgar. It’s far from the most crude I’ve ever seen, but if that sort of thing bothers you, stay away.

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