Even with all the concerns about the content in THE HANGOVER, you'd have to be pretty hard-hearted not to admire the flair, flash, and funk that director Todd Phillips brings to the film. As a kind of boozed-soaked detective story, it's remarkably engaging, and the trio of leads each bring something to the proceedings -- Cooper's ratty charm, Helms' stoic uptightness, and Galifinakis' outer-space musings work remarkably well together. There are some nice supporting parts, too (including Rob Riggle as a crazed cop and Heather Graham as an "escort" with a heart of gold), and the film's tempo never flags or falters.
The Hangover is exactly the kind of summertime film that grown-ups will enjoy before, or after, a few adult beverages, bringing back plenty of stories about their own flaming youth or misadventures; the film's too slick and speedy to meditate too much on what the characters learn from their experiences, and if the ending's happiness seems a little forced, think of that brief good feeling as a sparkling champagne chaser to the film's stiff-liquor comedic sensibility. Manic, panicked, and giddily crazed, The Hangover is, like the debauchery it depicts, so much fun that it hurts.