Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000 to 2009.
Sweaty, disheveled and with dried blood on his stubble, Phil (Bradley Cooper) tells a bride-to-be he’s somehow lost her groom somewhere in Las Vegas.
This opening scene to 2009’s The Hangover — the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time — felt as disorienting as the first head-pounding saunter to the bathroom after a night of getting schnockered. This, in a Todd Phillips movie? Shouldn’t this all be goofy male bonding, not grim moments of groomsmen failure?
Instead, The Hangover’s comic cocktail came served neat with a sidecar of Tabasco — hurting-face funny and building to a delirious fever pitch of Tyson, tigers and bare-naked men. All the wackiness never lost sight of the terrible trouble this trio of groomsmen got into. This blended up laughter and dangerous larceny in the way that the joylessly leaden Pineapple Express wanted to.
Ed Helms channeled Charles Grodin’s rat-a-tat pessimism and Zach Galifianakis made sure audiences knew he was a star.
As Alan, Galifianakis looks as if John Belushi went native, grew a bush on his face and crawled back from the forest. Each of Alan’s rib-tickling tics feels like insanely inspired improvisation, creating a flaky, but fiercely sweet, character.
Forgive The Hangover’s grenadine splash of a coda. As in Old School, Phillips cherished the assets of adult male life — maintaining backslapping bonds from long ago and forging ones you don’t expect. Just as a marriage is built on the strength of love and promises, so was this bromance.