I’ve got a hangover of critics using the word ‘hangover’ in their reviews of The Hangover

If there’s one thing tired old film critics love, it’s film titles which have a descriptive word they can shoehorn into a poster-quotable summary of their thoughts.  We see it all the time, and it can usually be relied on gutter-press critics like Alex Zane in The Sun to fall back on this laziest of journalistic devices, eg: Win Win‘s a winner!”

Nice.  Granted, it’s maybe a little unfair to mock tabloids for use of utterly thankless puns when that is exactly what their entire existence is predicated on.  But every so often, a film comes along where the opportunity for lame linguistic play-on-words is too irresistible for even the upper echelons of movie criticism.

Case in point: The Hangover Part 2, a film which, by most consensus, is a bit shit, and has a 33% score at Rotten Tomatoes.  By good fortune, it’s also a sequel to a film for which the consensus was generally quite positive, allowing for some lovely hangover-based metaphors which definitely no one else thought of.


Somebody must have roofied me. I left The Hangover Part II feeling dazed and abused, wondering how bad things happened to such a good comedy.

– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Oh, what a headache-inducing, unapologetic money grab we have in “The Hangover Part II.”

– Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

For a movie about guys who can’t handle their liquor, The Hangover Part II can be pretty sobering…For all the talent Hangover II reassembles, our boys just can’t muster the hair of the dog that bit them the first time around.

– Scott Bowles, USA Today

I still have a hangover from The Hangover Part II.

– Mary Pols, Time Magazine

Your head hurts like hell, the whole thing feels horribly familiar, and it’s just not funny any more. Can this really be happening again?
We all enjoyed ourselves during that first movie. But now … well, the hangover has begun.

– Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Now, I get it.  I know there’s deadlines to meet, you have to see six billion terrible films every week and describing a film in relation to its title is an easy and readable little flourish.  But guys!  You’re better than that!  I know you are.  Some of the people listed above I read regularly, and I genuinely enjoy their filmic ramblings.  But when you say a film called The Hangover gives you a hangover, it seems like you just don’t care anymore.  When did you stop caring?  Was it before or after Season of the Witch?

Next week: I tackle the practice of critics using the phrase “beautifully realised”.


  1. […] of calling out sickeningly obvious wordplay in film criticism (see here, and here, and also here), but I must say, the film criticism community has come out shining today in reviewing Pedro […]

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