Tips & Tricks

The Hangover: Breaking Down The Most Insane Stag Do Ever

Everyone’s had a night where they’ve woken up hammered, with no memory of what went down the night before.

However, Phil, Stu and Alan probably had a wilder stag night than most people could even dream of, somehow even managing to misplace the groom.

A sleeper comedy, Todd Phillips’ The Hangover is a cult classic that breathed new life into how wild a stag night can get. 

Why wouldn’t it? 

The Hangover optimally utilised some of the greatest comedic actors of this generation like Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Ken Jeong to its advantage within the perfect American stereotypical setting.

Now, let’s break down why The Hangover is a must-watch classic and the most insane stag do ever.

Part I: The Magic of Mystery

Everyone loves a good mystery and nothing does mystery like the set-up of The Hangover. 

They could’ve opted for a simple night of stag do camping or drinks at a pub, but this wouldn’t capture our attention. Instead, a premise that takes power in its absurdity acts as the perfect starting point for this cult classic. 

The movie opens up to a moment of crisis when everything and everyone appears to be at their lowest. We see an anxious bride at a beautiful wedding venue juxtaposed with Phil (Bradley Cooper), looking worse for wear in the middle of a desert alongside three others and a broken-down car. Even more suspenseful is his dialogue relaying that they lost the groom and the wedding will not be happening.

The story then unravels from there and the mysteries just seem to pile on, taking us one clue at a time towards solving the big question of what happened the previous night. A classic take on a peeling-back-the-layers storyline, The Hangover offers the perfect mix of clever writing and comedic timing amidst ridiculous scenarios that keep us entertained.

Part II: The Journey

After toasting to a night to remember, we are transported to the aftermath of what appears to have been a wild wild night. We are greeted by the first few pieces of the puzzle: a stray chicken strutting into the frame, an unknown woman leaving the suite, a tiger in the bathroom, a crying baby in the closet, a missing tooth, a hospital wristband and a missing groom. 

Not exactly what you’d expect after a night out with the boys, but plenty to get the ball rolling.

The Hangover brazenly leans into absurdity and has us, the audience, on the edge of our seats wondering ‘What on earth happened last night?’.

After concluding that their friend Doug is missing, our trio sets out on their journey to find him by retracing their steps. From getting punched by Mike Tyson to finding out that they were roofied at the hospital, getting arrested and tasered, the surprises keep on coming. 

The sequence of events they follow or that follows them seems almost far too ridiculous to have occurred and that’s why it works. Despite their ridiculousness, each of these events has a key role to play in the overarching plot; a single piece of the puzzle to finding out what happened the previous night.

Part III: The Twist

We get our first twist with the lads thinking that maybe their quest is over when they hear pounding from the trunk of their car.  Expecting their friend Doug, they excitedly open the trunk, only to instead discover a naked Asian man, who thrashes them with a crowbar.

Mr. Chow, while not being who the boys were looking for, does come back into the story with a hooded man, who he claims to be Doug. After multiple hijinks and rounds of blackjack, our trio makes up the $80,000 they need to exchange for Doug.

But, doesn’t this seem too easy after all they’ve been through? Turns out, it is. Upon unmasking Doug, they find out that the guy in the hood isn’t their Doug – an unfortunate mistake. Funnily enough, this ‘Doug’ ends up being the same man who sold Alan the roofies in the first place. 

Although we now have a decent understanding of what went down the previous night, we’re still left wondering, ‘Where is Doug?’

Part IV: The Finding of Doug

Now, as we return to the movie’s opening scene, it appears that all hope has been lost. Phil’s made the call to Tracy, the bride-to-be to call off the wedding and everyone sits by the road in despair.

Until a single discussion about the etymology of the word ‘roofies’ strikes a core memory. They rush back to the hotel, the place where everything began and in an almost full-circle moment, we’re once again taken to the roof.

After all the adventures and escapades, it is revealed that Doug was left on the roof of the hotel as a prank. A little overly sunburnt, but hale and hearty, Doug is discovered and the boys make a mad dash to get to the wedding venue in time.

Part V: Tying Off Loose Ends

With the climax reached and our main mystery solved, it’s time to wrap up this saga of events. The Hangover does a wonderful job of neatly wrapping up each character’s stories with the final wedding scene.

After bursting into the wedding at the last possible moment, Tracy forgiving Doug, and the couple saying their vows, they finally get married. 

Stu finally takes his friends’ advice and breaks up with his annoying girlfriend, Melissa. Phil happily reunites with his wife and son and Alan, now at a point where he is friends with the guys despite his unconventional personality, all while a pervy singer belts ballads in the background. 

But, it’s not over yet. While the credits roll, we get what may be the perfect conclusion to the night of debauchery. A series of photos taken throughout the night perfectly encapsulating the most insane stag night there ever was. 

Why does it work?

The Hangover follows a brilliant cinematic quest movie structure with clever writing and perfect comedic timing from a spectacular cast. 

Each character archetype is expertly crafted to form part of the perfect narrative. From Phil – the handsome bad boy hero who’s always ready to have a good time but can be responsible when the need arises, to Stu –  the square who’s anxious and uptight with a secret wild side and Alan – our comedic relief character yet also the heart of the movie. And lastly, Doug – the prize, that signals the end of their quest.

By putting together these personalities, The Hangover was able to deliver a lot of craziness, but with just enough cause and effect to have it all make sense. Following it up with two sequels only further cemented the franchise within the comedy Hall of Fame.

To the delight of many around the world who grew to love the trilogy, ‘The Hangover’ memorabilia and merchandise also had their moment in the spotlight. Avid fans could choose from accurate figures of characters, genuine film clips, and vintage movie posters. Some fans opted for more subtle homage to the movies like purchasing a Tubbz duck or a monkey plush in honour of some truly iconic moments. 

A movie that has won the hearts of many, The Hangover certainly made a lasting impact on the comedy scene, one that is unlikely to be forgotten any time soon.

Rachael is a 31 year old mum to 10 year old Luke and 5 year old Oscar. She lives in England and writes about family life, crafts, recipes, parenting wins(and fails), as well as travel, days out, fashion and living the frugal lifestyle.

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