Old School/The Hangover
We watched â€œOld Schoolâ€ based on the enthusiastic recommendations of our friends. These friends, itâ€™s worth mentioning, are the ones who recommended â€œEuro Tripâ€ all those months back, and despite the various movie triumphs weâ€™ve had based on their suggestions since, the old wound runs deep!
Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughan shamble their way through a mildly raucous movie that isnâ€™t quite shocking enough to be a screwball romp, but isnâ€™t sharp enough to be an insightful relationship comedy.
There are a few pretty good laughs scattered through the movie, and Wilson and Ferrell give likeable performancesâ€¦ Even Vaughanâ€™s totally amoral oiliness has itâ€™s charm.
The film is a little all over the place, though, never sure which of its plot threads or elements are really the point, and as such it doesnâ€™t hold together all that well as a movie â€“ there are plenty of decent quotable moments, but the sketchy pacing makes the whole thing fall a little flat.
â€œThe Hangoverâ€ features an almost identical character dynamic to â€œOld Schoolâ€ â€“ and if we go back further I guess weâ€™d find similar archetypes at play in Todd Phillipsâ€™ earlier â€œRoad Tripâ€ â€“ but with the newer movie the writer and director have a clearer sense of where the movieâ€™s strengths are than they did with â€œOld Schoolâ€, and the rolling motion of the plot â€“ the search for the impending groom through the fog of a devastating (read â€œawesome!â€) stag party â€“ gives it a pace and clarity lacking in the earlier one.
It also has frankly more impressive talent in the reluctant-straight-fall-guy and out-of-control man-child roles â€“ Wilson and Ferrell do good work, but Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis shine in â€œThe Hangoverâ€. If doing a sterling job at playing a handicapped or mentally ill character can usually be considered a fast track to award recognition, it seems a shame that Galifianakis will probably not get consideration for his lovably perverse and broken odd-ball here. His performance is what makes the movie stand apart from other similar romps, giving it most of its shocks, as well as any pathos present.
Mind you, as fun as â€œThe Hangoverâ€ is, itâ€™s not a classic, and the above observation could easily be said of the brilliant Bobcat Goldthwait in the not so brilliant â€œPolice Academyâ€ movies.