The Hangover

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
The Hangover Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Funny, yes, but chock-full of alcohol-fueled adult content.
  • R
  • 2009
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 77 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 192 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie's message is, at best, a little muddled; while the three main characters pay a price for their misadventures -- beatings, dehydration, sunburn, and more -- everything works out well in the end.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Friends act despicably, but pay the price. And in the end, they're loyal and kind to one another. While some female characters are depicted as life partners and positive influences, some are depicted as nagging harridans or simple sex objects.


Beatings, vehicular mayhem, the use of stun guns on "volunteers" in front of children (with children, in two cases, operating the stun guns/tazers), beatings with crowbars, and a gunshot wound to an innocent bystander. One character spends much of the film lamenting an excised tooth -- a bleeding, gaping wreck of a lost incisor. Some gunplay. A baby is hit in the head with a car door and is present during a few scenes of peril.


Extensive male and female nudity, including nude buttocks and breasts. Discussion of sexual acts, techniques, and one character's work as an "escort." Photos of nudity and explicit sexual acts (including glimpsed male genitalia) in the closing-credits montage. Explicit discussions of infidelity, one-night stands, and other acts. Mimed mock bestiality for comedic effects. A character notes that he cannot be within 200 yards of  "A school ... or a Chuck E. Cheese," implying that he's on some kind of serial offender watchlist.


Extensive, inventive, and constant vulgarity, including "f--k" and its derivations, "ass," "f--got," "douchebag," "whore," "gay," "hell," "shaft," "s--t," "Jesus," "semen," "retard," "bitch," "goddamn," "oh my God," "butt," "weenus," "bastard," "balls," "assholes," "nuts,"  and much, much more.


Mentions and on-screen display of brands includes many mentioned as plot points, including Caesar's Palace, Mercedes-Benz, Chuck E. Cheese, Rogaine, Monster Energy Drink, Gremlins, Indiana Jones, Rain Man, Jagermeister, Carnival Cruises, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The entire film revolves around excessive drinking and drug abuse. Characters drink beer, wine, and hard liquor to excess. A character thinks he's giving his friends Ecstasy without their consent but is, in fact, giving them "Roofies," the "date rape drug." Mentions of cocaine, crystal meth, and crank abuse. Drunk driving is implied. Photos in the closing-credits montage depict cocaine use. Reference to marijuana. It's worth noting that the brutal consequences of drug and alcohol abuse -- aches, memory loss, vomiting, humiliation, and despair -- are depicted unflinchingly.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this hilarious but extremely raunchy comedy from the director of Old School is decidedly not for younger teens. Let's face it: The movie's whole premise involves drinking and being drugged. There's lots of comedic violence, sex, substance abuse, and over-the-top language. While you could stretch and suggest that there's a message about friendship and responsibility, that's like suggesting that Twinkies and soda contain some vitamin C. Still, this movie is turning out to be the teen buzz movie of the summer of 2009. Parents also need to know that this review is for the rated version of this film. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byELA July 13, 2009
Funny, yes. Sidesplitting, even. But appropriate for anyone other than an adult who knows better?? Um, no. Sad that folks believe these rated x scenes are ok fo... Continue reading
Adult Written byDylnCox February 16, 2011

A Movie Everyone Can Relate To... Or... Not?

This movie wasn't made to send a message. It's a comedy which is why it's lead roles are who they are. This movie was some of their breakout movi... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCheerleaderBabe April 23, 2011

The Real Review

It was a very good movie. Lots of swearing, but kids hear that at school.. The sexual content is bad, and involves nudity and plenty of talk about sex. If you a... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAshie07 April 15, 2021

Great movie for mature and aware 12 yr olds

I reckon it is a pretty gods movie for mature 12 yr olds as most kids that age know about things in the movie and overall great comedy

What's the story?

With their friend Doug (Justin Bartha) on the verge of getting married, friends Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zack Galifinakis), and Stu (Ed Helms) take him to Las Vegas for a bachelor party blow-out. Waking the next morning, the three have hazy memories at best and a trashed hotel suite ... and there's no sign of Doug, who's due to tie the knot in two days. Phil, Alan, and Stu have to reconstruct their evening and find thier friend: What did they do? Where did they go? And why is there a tiger in their hotel suite?

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ritual of the bachelor party -- is it a chance for real bonding or simple immature excess?

  • Families can also discuss the image of Las Vegas as a playground forgrown-ups; how much of that is innocent fun, and how much of it issimply seedy marketing language?

  • Finally, families can talk about the film's excessive depiction of violence, sex, and substance abuse -- is the film condoning or glorifying this kind of behavior?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedies

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