The Hangover: ** 1/2 (out of 4)

My favorite TV show, day-to-day, is the hour-long combination of The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. The two shows fill a specific need in my life: political snark from a vaguely populist and intelligent viewpoint. But when I watch the current batch of correspondents, even though I do like them, I can't help but look back at the good old days of TDS, when those correspondents were even better. I miss Rob Corddry, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and Ed Helms; and I'm pretty much willing to see anything that they're in. And that's what got me in the door of The Hangover: Ed Helms actually acting.

Of course, acting was not really the point of this movie; it's a movie of the frat-boy, drunken antics that bachelor parties are encouraged to indulge in, with just a touch of Vegas for good measure. After a very short /in media res/ opening, we actually get to go back and meet the missing groom; and he turns out to actually be a pretty reasonable guy, as are the rest of the wedding party (well, three of them). And after the wackiness ensues, we spend the rest of the movie finding out what happened during a missing twelve or so hours. It's a simple and oft-repeated concept, and is well executed - but perhaps not worthy of much comment.

There were a few interesting bits, though. On the one hand, we have a "bad" interesting - the brother of the bride was broadly written and generally annoying, with few redeeming values and implications of miscellaneous perversions that were only worth a single, not-very-good joke a piece. But on the other hand, we had a not-entirely brainless relationship arc for Ed Helms' character, involving overcoming physical and emotional abuse (again, somewhat throwaway, but in a more positive way). And Heather Graham, while not having a huge role in the movie, did come across as actually having a character. (And breasts.)

I don't know that there's a whole lot more to say than this. It was a good enough movie; but it wasn't really worth seeing in the theatre. I'd wait for the inevitable unrated DVD version; but if you're going to the movies, it's as good as anything that's making money right now. And note: you only have to stay for the first half of the end credits.

** 1/2