Film Friday: ‘The Hangover’ & ‘Land Of The Lost’

by W. Andrew Powell

Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galfianakis in The Hangover

Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galfianakis in The Hangover

Opening in theatres this week, a group of guys throw the wildest bachelor party ever and now they just have to remember what happened and where the groom went in The Hangover. Also out this week, Will Ferrell stars in the action comedy Land of the Lost, and Nia Vardalos stars in the romantic comedy, My Life In Ruins.

The Hangover
What happens when a bachelor party gets so wild, so crazy, that you can’t even remember what happened? Worse than that, where do you start looking for the missing groom, who apparently vanished during the festivities?

From the director who brought us Old School, The Hangover is yet another guys movie about the camaraderie and the weird times that can follow any drunken, wayward evening.

Through the mishaps and the remembered mayhem, the group of guys will of course bond and get into the hijinks that most guys can only dream about.

The film stars an assortment of lesser-knowns, including Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galfianakis. The most well-known star would have to be Heather Graham, who plays Jade the stripper and single mom.

With its plot sounding like a rehashing of Dude, Where’s My Car, The Hangover is certainly the kind of film made for older guys, dreaming of the kind of nights out they enjoyed in their 20s and 30s. It also sounds utterly dopey, but the reviews are calling the film the best of the weekend.

Jim Ridley of the Village Voice called The Hangover, “an unusually palatable entry in a rancid genre.”

While Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly wrote, “The Hangover has scattered laughs (many in the cathartically funny end-credit montage), but overall it’s more amusing than hilarious.”

None of the top critics think the film is perfect, by any standard, but the reviews are far and away better than anything else coming out this weekend.

Land Of The Lost
On the other end of things comes Land Of The Lost, a comedy set in the sci-fi universe of the once popular, if not oddball series known as Land Of The Lost.

Directed by Brad Silberling, who incidentally made City of Angels, the film stars Will Ferrell as wannabe scientist Dr. Rick Marshall, who dreams of a time travel device that no one believes he can create. Of course, one miraculous day Rick finds a way to build his device, which sends him through time to an alternate reality where past, present and future are all mashed together in one terrible mess. Between the dinosaurs, the alien creatures, and everything in between, Rick and his friends have to find a way to escape back to their own time, before they’re eaten by some horrific creature.

For those who remember the original, somewhat ridiculous series, the idea of a big screen remake is kind of ludicrous. The show had all the wit of exactly what it was, a series for kids, which makes Ferrel the perfect star since he seems to be willing to work any film that has enough money to sign him up.

When Ferrell is on, he’s great, but that’s usually only in the cases where there’s a director who can reign him in. Land of The Lost looks like a Ferrel vehicle where he’s simply driving on cruise control, and the early reviews all seem to back up my theory.

“Many of the bits are far too adult for children,” wrote Bill Goodykoontz for the Arizona Republic, “yet no adult with a brain bigger than a walnut… would find the story the least bit compelling.”

Brian Lowry of Variety agreed with Goodykoontz, pointing out that the film wallows in complete juvenile humour. “Modernizing a 1970s children’s TV show known for its cheap special effects offered certain possibilities, but the filmmakers have traded in any kid-friendly elements for bathroom humor of dinosaur-sized proportions.”

My Life In Ruins
Writer and star Nia Vardalos, who you might remember from her film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, is finally back with another film. This time Vardalos is Georgia, a travel guide showing off the beauty of Greece to travelers as she looks for a better role in life, and maybe, someone special.

Unfortunately, Vardalos failed to work the same magic with My Life In Ruins, and the proof is in the avalanche of horrible reviews.

“Settling for My Life in Ruins requires a serious lowering of the bar: like digging a groove for it,” wrote Joshua Rothkopf of Time Out New York.

And critic Emanuel Levy (EmanuelLevy.Com) was even more cruel in his write-up.

“In this utterly formulaic romantic comedy,” Levy wrote, “even Greece’s gorgeous sites and Vardalos’ mildly appealing persona can’t compensate for the pile of national stereotypes and cultural clichés (stuffy Brits, boozy Aussies, loudmouthed Yanks).”

Join our list

Subscribe to our mailing list and get weekly updates on our latest contests, interviews, and reviews.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Accept Read More