Zombie Post: The Hangover, or Dude, Where's My Friend?

This is the first in a mini-series of posts I started last year but never completed. Zombie Post sounds like a good name, both because I like zombies and because I am pretty much bringing this topic back from the dead.


I saw The Hangover. And I laughed like most people did. Seeing baby Carlos jackin’ it was pretty funny. I’m hoping you’ve seen the movie before you read that last sentence. Watching those guys run all over Las Vegas and get into zany adventures was a decent way to spend an hour-and-a-half.

But once it was over and I walked out of the theater, during that period of quiet reflection while your eyes adjust to the over-bright world outside, the movie didn’t seem quite as brilliant as it did scant moments before. The feeling just wouldn’t leave me, like that crap-cloud that hung around Pig-Pen from Peanuts. I spent several uneasy minutes trying to figure out what happened. Like the way you slowly recognize a friend you haven’t seen for twenty years, it eventually came to me. The Hangover was just another rip-off.

If the similarities don’t immediately strike you, I composed a table highlighting some of the most egregious points:

The Hangover vs Dude, Where’s My Car
HangoverDude
Wake up with hangovers and no memory of the night beforeWake up with hangovers and no memory of the night before
Gotta find their friendGotta find their car
They retrace their steps from the night beforeThey retrace their steps from the night before
Can’t let their wives find out they lost their friendCan’t let their girlfriends find out they lost their presents
Cleo King plays a cop who lets them get their car out of impoundCleo King plays an impound officer who releases their car from impound
A blond escort moves the story alongA blond transgendered stripper moves the story along
They’re harassed by Chinese menThey’re harassed by Norwegian men
They mess around with a tigerThey mess around with an ostrich
They’re made fun of by a Chinese manThey’re made fun of by a Chinese restaurant
Mike Tyson pops up for a cameoAndy Dick pops up for a cameo
They’re bullied by a Chinese gangThey’re bullied by a gang of jocks
One character has the surprise ability to count cardsOne character has the surprise ability to solve a Rubik’s Cube
Some character is randomly reminded of a trivial bit of information from the beginning of the movie that proves pivotal to the plotSome character is randomly reminded of a trivial bit of information from the beginning of the movie that proves pivotal to the plot

As you can see, from the basic premise (hungover guys trying to find what they lost) to the casting of Cleo King in almost the same role, The Hangover apes Dude, Where’s My Car at every turn. It’s not really arguable that The Hangover didn’t steal the basic plot. The best you could do is say that it was heavily influenced by Dude, Where’s My Car. You could be so bold as to call it an homage. Or you could be a buzzword-spouting dick and call it a reimagining.

It’s too bad that Dude, Where’s My Car had to have it’s good name shat upon by The Hangover. But it’s even worse that everyone, regrettably even me, handed over their hard-earned scratch to watch the same recycled garbage over again. I like funny movies. I like them more when I haven’t seen THE EXACT SAME DAMN MOVIE BEFORE. The Hangover is to me like those pair of shoes you wear when you step in a steamy dog turd- no matter how much you liked them before, now they’ll always have that stinky brown stigma on them.

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