I am normally one of the last people to watch movies maybe because am cheap and wait for them to be five dollars also because am easily distracted and like watching DVDs where I have the authority to pause whenever I am distracted….normally I watch a movie in thirds so a movie night with me normally does not work. Below I will describe my experience with the movie Hangover which I am sure many people have watched and if you have not am sorry for spoilers. I will also use some Kenyan imagery, some language expression that I will explain down at comments also if I use a word or expression that you do not understand please ask me. Also I really doubt this is a critic 😉 Oh well.

Hangover, the movie, is like my life dressed up in a tuxedo. You would feel the same way too if you were to watch it from beneath a mushroom cloud of smoke, smelly socks and whiffs of sweat, like I did.

There is something about Junior’s Video Parlour, where I watched this movie last Friday that manages to peel the glamour off Hollywood; turn all that tinsel into post-midnight Cinderella. I used to think it was the bad quality DVDs, you know, those grainy 40-in-1s with subtitles- that you cannot disable- in a language that appears to be Chinese with an English accent. But now I think otherwise. It must be the social and economic distance. The distance between the actors and the spaces where their made up realities are played out and us and the spaces from which we observe them.

Anyway, it is not like we a reviewing a Warner Herzog film for the New Yorker or something, so let us cut the quasi-intelligent musings. Hangover is one hell of a funny movie. Even when you are watching it on a camera copy dubbed by an idiot who decided to: a) Sit too far left of the movie theatre giving you more theatre wall than screen in most frames; b) Enjoy the movie rather than film its screening and as he laughed into his mike gave the movie the feel of a broken fourth wall and with his body shaking with glee, the camera calls attention to itself like a bad version of that scene in Children of Men (2006) where blood from the shoot splashes on the camera; c) sit behind an incontinent guy who when he isn’t getting up and walking right through your screen, manages to keep his long, shabby hair in it all the time. Simply put, this movie is straight out hilarious, no technical challenges in watching it can get in the way of the laughs.

Hangover doesn’t pretend to be anything but a comedic guy flick, thus to judge it outside of these parameters is not to do it a disservice as much as to hoist it on a pedestal that it neither deserves or demands. It is not the movie for you if you are looking for that new; edgy; ground breaking comedy. That is unless you have never heard the phrase, ‘what happens in Vegas stays there,’ or watched a movie premised on amnesia.

With writing credits including the John Lucas & Scott Moore duo that gave us the considerably hilarious Four Christmases, Hangover’s plot is quite simple. Doug is getting married to Tracy Garner and so his boys, Stu and Phil, decide to take him to Vegas on his last night as a bachelor. Tracy’s brother, Alan, Stu and Phil’s reservations notwithstanding, tags along. They head out in Tracy’s dad’s treasured old school Mercedes Benz convertible, which he has graciously entrusted to Doug.

Once in Vegas, after checking into the Caesers Palace, the guys go to the roof to toast to a great night out. The next we know is that they are passed out in their hotel room with a chicken clucking about, a tiger in the bathroom and a toddler in the closet. Two things are conspicuously missing from this tableau that is evidence of tremendously wild night out: Everyone’s recollection of the past night and the bridegroom. The movie then turns into this epic of hilarity as the present trio seeks to find their memories and the bridegroom with only a few hours to go before the wedding.

Even as I laughed right through this movie, I couldn’t help checking myself every time the thought of the number of times I have woken up in weird places and situations and with all the events over the past couple of hours or even days being able to fit in one blank slate.

But my life is paralleled by the movie Hangover only in the amnesia. The setting is totally withdrawn from my reality, what with the fancy car, the luxurious suite in a Las Vegas hotel and the fact that a guy can just put USD800 on his credit card on a whim. Man, if I just had the USD800, right now, I would give myself permanent head damage.

The heartbreaking part though is the realisation that for these guys, Vegas, the big night is just this one night when they get to do something silly. For me, for all of these kids down here, this is what we try to do every day. At the end of the movie, the guys return home to a wedding and their normal lives of wives, jobs, cars and dogs. For us, when we come to, there is nothing to return to. Nothing, but all that that we were trying to get high enough to forget, in the first place.


Video parlor – In the beginning when DVDs and DVD players were really expensive we would go to a parlor and pay a small fee and watch movies in a big screen TV….. Just like in the theater’s and they were individually owned with the owner taking the coins at the door of the small room.

40in 1 – Counterfeit DVDs that would hold 40 movies in one disk, the quality depended on how recent hte movie was… a new release…would be the camera copy with people walking around the screen.