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Notes from the back row

Blackouts and getting lost

Ah, summer - beaches, bikinis, blockbuster movies, barbecues and epic patio sessions. This truly is the most wonderful time of the year. With one exception, summer also means the beginning of Bachelor Party season and on any given Saturday there can be up to a dozen clusters thirsty women drinking from cock-shaped cups, and über-hammered 'cidiots' (e.g. idiots from the city) ambling the streets of our quiet mountain town pushing uncreative "last night of Freedom" bullshit on everyone in their paths. I suppose Stags and Stagettes are good for business - drunk people are easier to rip off - but they can sure taint a good summer night.

Of course, we've got it easy compared to Las Vegas, the bachelor party capital of the cinematic world and The Hangover, the latest addition to the "What happens in Vegas..." sub-genre hits screens at the Village 8 this Friday.

The Hangover is like a detective story where all the detectives have pounding headaches and feel like a bag of smashed assholes. Devious groomsman Phil (Bradley Cooper) and hen-pecked Stu (Ed Helms) take their buddy Doug (Justin Bartha) to Vegas for his stag. The bride's brother, possible-sex-offender Alan (Zack Galifianakis, killing it) tags along for the ride.

The boys embark on a good old-fashioned "drink-off," followed by a group blackout, and when morning rears its ugly head, the groom is missing, a tooth is gone, there are chickens and a tiger roaming the trashed hotel room, and that "what happened?" sense of impeding doom lingers over everything.

They need to find their boy, and this noble cause carries the hungover heroes through all sorts of side missions and random story twists in a cohesive R-Rated comedy with plenty of laughs and crass, dude humour. Female roles are pretty minimal although Heather Graham gets a shot at the Hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold character and does all right. Plus, Mike Tyson pops up as himself and sings a song (the Tyson documentary, playing in Vancouver, is epic by the way).

Before Judd Apatow, director Todd Phillips was pushing the envelope of male-bonded rude-boy humour  - remember Old School, the film that launched Will Ferrell's career? With The Hangover Phillips recaptures some of that old spirit in a tight comedy that's well worth checking out.

Will Ferrell on the other hand, has fallen off lately, and his latest flick Land of the Lost - a loose remake of the old TV show - is not helping anyone (unless you feel like seeing him run around in his ginch for the umpteenth time).

Directed by Brad Silberling ( Casper ), Land of the Lost is about a couple of time traveling scientists lost in another era or dimension with a crapload of green-screened bugs, animals and dinosaurs, but very little comedy. Jorma Taccone (who is usually awesome) plays a half-man, half-monkey sort of creature that is pretty funny at the start but quickly slips into annoyance levels that haven't been reached since Jar Jar Binks. Danny McBride delivers the same crass, redneck, tough-guy schtick we've seen him do countless times before and the special effects, arguably the best part of the film, are inconsistent to say the least. Sometimes it looks like they made them shitty on purpose as a homage to the television show, but it's not that obvious.

Twisted, weird, dumb, but rarely funny, the Land of the Lost is 106 minutes long and as much fun as Chlamydia, which, I heard on the radio, is running so rampant through Whistler these days that UBC doctors are doing random "on-the-street" testing to try and get a handle on things.

Just in time for Bachelor party season too, nothing says "Happy Wedding, honey" like coming home with fistful of free antibiotics. Woo-hoo, Summer!