I will nail my colours to the mast, I am 44 years old (at this point) and liked this movie to a large degree but would guarantee that a 34 year old will like it more, a 24 year old may be in stitches and 16 year old will need oxygen to resuscitate them.
Of course this is a massive stereotyping exercise but most movies are built for an audience and this one is transparently obvious in it’s target demographic.
We have freewheeling trendy teacher Phil (Bradley Cooper) who takes the class’s field money as a down payment for his weekend in Vegas, the groom (Justin Bartha) who is ready to have a good time within limits and uptight dentist (Ed Helms) who has to lie to his partner just to go on the trip. Last but no means least, the groom’s brother in law, a rather odd bewhiskered and “challenged” man boy (Zach Galifianakis), who may or may not save the day, depending on how many of these types of movies you have watched.
Starting at the end, the party are shown bloodied and beaten in the middle of the desert. Phil calls the bride to be and gets the news that the wedding is now only five hours away.
“Yeah… that’s not gonna happen” he deadpans.
Where this movie differs from the norm is that we see none of the wild debauchery, drinking, gambling and drug taking first hand, only the aftermath of a wild night in Vegas.
Waking up in the morning surrounded by an overturned suite, a crying baby in the closet, a real tiger in the bathroom, a tooth missing (not the tiger whose teeth are all there as far as I could see) and most importantly, no groom.
The premise is good and the early scenes are milked for all the laughs they offer. This includes the poor baby, now in a front facing rucksack, bashing the car door as Alan tries to get into their valet parked police car. The Vegas squad car mysteriously replacing the vintage, borrowed and much prized, Mercedes convertible they arrived in the night before.
The group slowly unravel the previous evening which is not just blurred by alcohol but possibly something much stronger, taken in error earlier in the evening.
Heather Graham makes a winning appearance as a local stripper with a heart of gold and a cameo from a famous face certainly does not outstay his welcome or acting ability, just.
Featuring a cast of known but not “A” list actors, who are clearly enjoying the ride, there are a couple of missteps. The camp Asian (Jeong) gangster scenes appear to come from another movie and there is worrying trend in this and many other “comedy” movies, to show characters pissing into and on things, at every opportunity.
Whether the groom is delivered safely back to his beautiful, bride to be in time for the wedding is perhaps not the point of the movie. As a clue, watch out for the wedding singer from hell, not taking further bookings any time soon.
Foul mouthed raucous fun, just this side of tasteful. No doubt will do far better than anyone expected, as you do care about the characters, not a lot, but certainly enough to make it work.
Perhaps any movie that can make stun guns even a bit funny, cannot be all bad.
Add or subtract another 1/2 star if your age differs greatly from 44 or you consumed two beers before watching – I will leave you to decide which way.