by Jeff Meyers
The time has come to worship at the altar of Zach Galifianakis. Actually, the producers of the unapologetically inappropriate The Hangover should bow before the pudgy comedian, because, as amusing as their film is, Galifianakis is the tasty center in their rude and rowdy cake.
The setup is standard frat-pack fare: Three guys take their best friend, a groom-to-be, to Vegas for the ultimate bachelor party, and end up losing him. The next day brings with it complete amnesia and an ever-escalating series of encounters, as Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Galifianakis try to figure out what the hell happened.
Director Todd Phillips (Old School, Road Trip), who has made a career of gonzo buddy flicks, opts for a dark comic tone to complement his depraved and hilarious set pieces. And, for its first two-thirds, The Hangover unspools its revelations and anything-goes encounters to riotous effect. Too bad it loses steam in the final act with a sitcom-style climax.
Good thing there's chemistry between the male leads and, of course, Galifianakis, who makes the first half of the film a personal showcase for his hysterically weird one-liners and gags. A baby manipulated to look like he's masturbating? Check. The best Holocaust joke to come along in, well, ever? Check. An end credits slide show that'll have you peeing your pants? You betcha. The Hangover is so wrong and so friggin' funny.