Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Hangover - Haven't seen it. Already have a problem with someone else about it


Where I take Richard Corliss to task over his critique of a movie I have never seen.


I'm not one to argue. No would label me a dissenter. I stick to the status quo and rarely cause trouble or rabble rouse. And while none of these statements are technically true I thought they would help in gaining, you the reader's, trust before I go off on Time's Richard Corliss for his review of The Hangover.

I haven't even seen the movie yet and I already have a problem with something someone wrote about it. Does that say I don't have a life and need to find a better Friday night/ Saturday morning activity? Probably. Does Corliss need to be taken to task? Most assuredly.

In his review of The Hangover, after admitting that its Rotten Tomatoes rating is a stunning 85%, he questions the producer's (or studios) choice of actors. To quote Mr. Corliss:

You want to make a comedy about guys who learn the true meaning of bromance on a horrible weekend in Vegas, but you can't spend a lot of money on talent. Which actors do you cast? The leading role of Phil, the smart, energetic audience surrogate, might have suited Jim Carrey or Vince Vaughn, so go with Bradley Cooper, who was Carrey's pal in Yes Man and Vaughn's preppie torturer in Wedding Crashers. Steve Carell would have been perfect for Stu, the amiable, henpecked dentist; but Ed Helms, Carell's cohort on The Daily Show and The Office, costs so much less. Now for Alan, the roly-poly cute guy with a surfeit of energy and a sociopathic streak: can't afford Jack Black, give stand-up comic Zach Galifianakis a chance. OK, we got ourselves a movie!
Look, I like Corliss. I am one of the few, under age 35 people with an actual Time Magazine subscription so I read his movie reviews regularly. (Not like I couldn't on the internet for free). But this criticism is just plain stupid. Lambasting a studio for not casting the world's most popular comedic actors (sorry Will Ferrell) for every single role in a movie and blaming the studio for chincing out on said talent? WTF? Short of Ocean's Ten Eleven Twelve whatever, what movie does this? None.

And besides that, does a casting of these actors help the overall movie? Probably not. Consider if any one of those actors is cast in any one of the roles (much less all of them). What does the movie become? A Carrell, Vaughn, Carry, Black vehicle without any of the inherent "bromance" because movies like this work when the actors are all on even footing. Its funny because each actor is just popular enough in their own right. They are all sitting in that in between "that guy" and "I love that guy" phase. thats what makes these kind of ensembles work so well. No actor steals the spotlight from the other and more importantly, the writers don't feel pressured (or obligated) to hand more scenes off to the star. Instead it becomes exactly what was intended, a "bromance."

Like I said, I haven't seen The Hangover though I intend to. but without even viewing the movie I can tell Corliss's review is massively off base. Condemning a movie for not hiring every (or even any) big name actor is like telling the Tampa Bay Rays they shouldn't have been in the World Series last year because Arod or Pujols wasn't on the team. It doesn't make any kind of sense. If you thought the movie was bad, fine. If you want all of your favorite guys in one movie? That's a different story.

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