Uptight bride-to-be Tracy (Sasha Barrese) kisses her groom-to-be Doug (Justin Bartha) as he heads for a night in Las Vegas with his boys before the wedding. Tracy's trusting father Sid (Jeffrey Tambor) lends the boys his cherry vintage Mercedes convertible and off they drive down the California highway blaring T.I.'s Rhianna-powered "Live Your Life." "To a night we'll never forget," the four friends toast from the roof of the Caesar's Palace later that night. The rest of The Hangover is spent trying to remember.
Director Todd Phillips' and writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's movie is hilarious less for the premise--already folks are making the Dude, Where's My Car? references--and more for the developed trio of characters working together to retrace the lost night's steps, hoping they lead to the missing Doug, who is getting married very, very soon. The backtracking team consists of Doug's best friends Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms), who used to be tighter than they are now, what with Phil married with kids and Stu living with his mean girlfriend Melissa (Rachael Harris), and Tracy's weird brother Alan (Zach Galifianakis).
Getting dressed to go out once they arrive in Sin City offers a glimpse at how they interact later when the shit hits the fan: Scruffy but together Phil looks sharp in all black; Doug's conservative, sporting a classic white button down under a black suit. When these guys come into Stu's room, he's still getting ready in boxers, flustered about lying to his girlfriend and worried about everything else, but ends up in a khaki suit with a beige polo with a few stripes across the chest as Alan cruises in with a leather man-bag across his printed T-shirt--an orange setting sun on tan--tucked into his white jeans belted with a matching leather belt. He's an odd one: he sings "Who let the dogs out?," he tells the truth, and somehow he never quite gets reality.
The night is as lost to the audience as it is to them, and they spend the next two days unraveling the clues--including Jade (Heather Graham), the Earth mama professional dancer with a baby and, yes, a heart of gold; a stolen police car; hospital time; Mike Tyson; Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), a seriously demented business man; a chicken; a baby; a tiger; and a black Doug (Mike Epps). Trailers for The Hangover give away plenty, but by no means too much--there are still plenty of gags left on the reel.