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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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 ofÂ "A school ... or a Chuck E. Cheese," implying that he's on some kind of serial offender watchlist.
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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,"Â and much, much more.
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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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.