“Fellowship of the Strippers”

Finally, a raucous, raunchy comedy in the grand tradition of Porky’s, Anchorman, and director Todd Phillips’ previous efforts, Old School and Road Trip (and I’d say There’s Something About Mary, but I always found it over-rated as a comedy). Rife with funny dialogue with plenty of memorable one-liners, its flashback structure adds a sense of intrigue to what could have been a rather pedestrian movie.

We have the four stooges, Doug (Justin Bartha), due to get married in 48 hours, along with his two best friends, school teacher Phil (Bradley Cooper), and “just a dentist” Stu (Ed Helms), along with Doug’s soon to be brother-in-law, the not quite right in the head Alan (Zach Galifianakis). They perform that most ancient of rites, the bachelor party, in Las Vegas, in search of a night they won’t forget. They promptly have such a good time, they can’t remember a minute of it.

“Can’t you see the fun part of anything?” –Phil
The inherent mystery of their lost night, as they retrace their steps, figuring out where they went wrong, how they went so far astray, and figure out where they go from here. After all, such are the deep philosophical questions that naturally accompany a night of marrying strippers, naked Asian men popping out of car trunks, missing teeth, awkwardly walking chickens, Mike Tyson’s tiger in the bathroom, hospital visits, furniture still smoking, and finding a baby in the closet.

“Are you happy?” –Phil

So I’m sitting at my computer wondering if there’s a spiritual connection that I can make to this movie (cause I managed to find one for Borat and Slither). The “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” credo flies in the face of the reality of the fact that sin/secrets have a way of finding you out and following you home … nope … that’s not going to work.

Friendship is best defined during times of adversity. It’s easy to be friends when things are going easy. Sunshine friendships. It’s when you have to walk through each other’s messes, even self-created messes, telling each other hard truths, that you can figure out who your real friends are.

We long for such friendships, sometimes believing ourselves to be “a wolf pack of one”, unloved, unlovable, and unworthy of being loved. Yet we’re wired for relationships, we want to be known. We desperately desire our wolf pack of one becomes a wolf pack of four, to find “the three best friends that anyone could have”.

Life constantly presents opportunities for us to love and to learn to love better. Difficult circumstances can cause relationships to dig deeper, driving each other to get to know one another on more significant levels. And there is a spiritual point to it all. Our friendships, limited, temporary, and transitional as they are, are meant to drive us to a higher friendship. If only to prove that we can’t live without love. Even the loneliness, the grief, the deficiencies of friendship prepare us for something more permanent, more eternal. We were made for higher companionship, an infinite hole within us that can only be filled with the Infinite. A love that does not pass away.

That’s as good as I’m getting.

“Just get me home.” –Doug

The Hangover, this ode to irresponsible behavior, basically finds boys masquerading as men, re-living their college days in a night fueled by alcohol, debauchery, and boobs. It pretty much delivers exactly what it promises: big laughs wrung from a whole lot of wrong. The entire movie pays off in laughs, one ridiculous moment following the next. The humor is unapologetically raunchy (the closing photograph montage being a fitting closing argument for that case). Though I did leave the theater wondering what was up with the chickens.