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SD/Movies – Getting Schooled, Getting Drunk, Knowing Stuff & Getting Whacked

Old School/The Hangover

We watched “Old School” based on the enthusiastic recommendations of our friends. These friends, it’s worth mentioning, are the ones who recommended “Euro Trip” all those months back, and despite the various movie triumphs we’ve had based on their suggestions since, the old wound runs deep!

Old School“Old School” doesn’t clear up the scar tissue, but it at least alleviates the remnant pain a little.

Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughan shamble their way through a mildly raucous movie that isn’t quite shocking enough to be a screwball romp, but isn’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 performances… Even Vaughan’s totally amoral oiliness has it’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 doesn’t hold together all that well as a movie – there are plenty of decent quotable moments, but the sketchy pacing makes the whole thing fall a little flat.

The Hangover - Zach Galifianakis“The Hangover” features an almost identical character dynamic to “Old School” – and if we go back further I guess we’d find similar archetypes at play in Todd Phillips’ earlier “Road Trip” – but with the newer movie the writer and director have a clearer sense of where the movie’s strengths are than they did with “Old School”, and the rolling motion of the plot – the search for the impending groom through the fog of a devastating (read “awesome!”) stag party – gives it a pace and clarity lacking in the earlier one.

The Hangover - Heather GrahamIt also has frankly more impressive talent in the reluctant-straight-fall-guy and out-of-control man-child roles – Wilson and Ferrell do good work, but Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis shine in “The Hangover”. 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 “The Hangover” is, it’s not a classic, and the above observation could easily be said of the brilliant Bobcat Goldthwait in the not so brilliant “Police Academy” movies.

“Old School” is available at Amazon on DVD for £4, or packaged with “Anchorman” for £5!

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