From The Hangover to This is the End, looking at films on parties gone horribly south
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From The Hangover to This is the End, looking at films on parties gone horribly south
Pratishruti Ganguly
Oct 05, 2021

In life or in movies, the cardinal rule is the same. If there is a party, it is bound to get derailed. Sometimes, the obstacles are handleable — overflowing toilets, crying babies, broken tumblers — you name it. At others, the trouble sneaks up on you when you least expect it. You might even end up in the ‘Wild Wild West’ in the thick of the night with only binoculars and a deflated water bottle.

Whether or not you believe in painting the town red all night, since the onset of the pandemic, these kinds of crazy experiences have only been lived vicariously through movies. They say the best kind of party usually involves experiencing the madness from a distance. Be it The Hangover franchise, where the groom goes missing on the day of his wedding, or Thelma and Louise, where two best friends get embroiled in a murder, here’s a list of movies where our protagonists didn’t quite sign up for the kind of party they became a party to.

The Hangover
8OTTplay Rating
Before Todd Philips took his plunge into the twisted, decrepit Gotham universe with Joker, he made the iconic franchise The Hangover in 2009. The comedy, starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis, became a guide on what not to do for all bachelors at their bachelor party. Expectedly, the characters land up in Los Angeles, the land of debauchery according to Hollywood. The groom Doug (Justin Bartha) travels to Los Angeles with his friends Phil (Cooper) and Stu (Helms), as well as his fiancée Tracy's brother Alan (Galifianakis). The four douse themselves in alcohol through the bachelor party, only to realise the next morning that Doug is missing, Stu has lost a tooth and they have no recollection of the night. The entire movie plays out in flashback, as the three piece together the events of the fateful night. The movie proved to be both a commercial and critical success, spawning not one, but two sequels, released in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
Vacation Friends
6.2OTTplay Rating
The spiritual successor of The Hangover series, Vacation Friends is the latest addition to the wild ride party roster of films. Vacation Friends stars Lil Rel Howery, John Cena, Yvonne Orji, Meredith Hagner in the lead, and charts the events of a night where the protagonists have had too much to drink and sniff, and resultantly suffer a partial memory loss. Director Clay Tarver mined humour out of the characters’ visible discomfort with each other, as the film itself mirrored some of the real-world concerns like striking a friendship with rank strangers or having reservations about indulging in “too much debauchery.”
This Is the End
6.4OTTplay Rating
Parties can quickly become a nightmare if the guests aren’t allowed to leave. This is the End is a deliciously twisty and self-referential dark comedy about six celebrity friends trapped inside James Franco’s plush mansion when catastrophe strikes in Hollywood Hills. After a massive earthquake wipes out almost all of Los Angeles, these celebs, including Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill and Emma Watson, are forced to ration the limited supply of food, water and most importantly, marijuana. The self-parodic movie, helmed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg in their directorial debuts, earned rave reviews on its release for its unabashed gags and its energetic performances.
Rough Night
5.3OTTplay Rating
Walking into Rough Night, the one thing that a viewer is certain about is that the night is going to be rough. Featuring some of the biggest names in Hollywood — Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Kate McKinnon, among others — the film revolves around a bachelorette party that somersaults into trouble after a male stripper dies in their presence. It’s one of the few buddy comedies that has an all-female primary cast and a female director, Lucia Aniello. The film follows the beats of a bachelorette-party-from-hell template, yet delivering uninhibited chuckles and laughs.
7.3OTTplay Rating
Things can barrel towards unprecedented disaster and not exactly be hilarious. Midsommar, director Ari Aster’s terrific folk horror was about a summer festival in a visually stunning Swedish hamlet. Aster manager to suffocate the viewers with an impending sense of dread even as the film unfolds in an idyllic landscape. The film is centred on Dani (Florence Pugh), who is unable to come to terms with her family’s sudden death after her sister poisons herself and her family with carbon monoxide. In a desperate attempt to escape the grief, she accompanies her unempathetic boyfriend to a village in Harga, where the summer harvest festival takes place every year. Along the way, she and her pals are offered “magic mushroom” as a welcome snack, in order to acclimatise them to the unexpected nature of their “trip.” Critics have described the film as almost a “destination wedding gone terribly wrong.”
8OTTplay Rating
Teenagers without the surveillance of their parents in a suburban home is enough fodder for a wild party. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera play best friends Seth and Evan who bond over their shared unpopularity in school in Superbad. In order to prove that they are indeed “cool”, they attend a house party where they are promptly tasked to source alcohol for the women they plan to have intercourse with as their rite of passage into college. But as underage boys, their quest to find alcohol isn’t exactly a smooth ride as they come into the crosshairs of two police officers Slater and Michael. The film was an unprecedented success at the box office, nabbing the top spot for the highest-grossing high school film of 2007. The film was praised for balancing its outrageous premise with the naivety of adolescence, making the viewers empathise with the goofy and endearing protagonists.

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