A Las Vegas-set comedy centered around three groomsmen who lose their about-to-be-wed buddy during their drunken misadventures, then must retrace their steps in order to find him.

Netflix, IMDB

Director: Todd Phillips
STC Genre: Whydunit

Very well made movie. It sets the tone as a silly comedy, and totally exceeds all the expectations of that. In a good way 🙂 Apparently, setting the right expectations for the audience is half the battle – at least I’m willing to take a few corny jokes if I expect plenty of them, and otherwise the movie kept me laughing my ass off, yet on the edge of the mystery. Quite a delicate balance.

SPOILER ALERT – the movie beat by beat

Opening Image

  • [0:00:29] Wedding preparations, the bride Tracy is making frantic phone calls. Her groom Doug is in Las Vegas (as mentioned by her father, [0:01:34]). Next thing we learn, Doug is missing and his friends are stuck in a desert. What’s going on? [0:02:08].

Setup

  • [0:02:08] A minute and a half of beautiful imagery of Las Vegas over opening titles.
  • [0:03:28] Two days earlier – intro to Alan & Doug. Allen acts rather weird.
  • [0:05:17] Enter Sid, bride’s father, and his beloved car. He wouldn’t trust his car even to his own son Alan – who is kissing the dog as they speak [0:05:34]
  • [0:05:57] Enter Phil, a school teacher, Doug’s friend. He’s taking kids’ money with him to Las Vegas.
  • [0:06:30] We learn that Alan must be pedophile with a restraining court order to stay away from schools
  • [0:07:16] Enter Stu and his girlfriend Melissa – a strict and suspicious woman holding Stu on a leash
  • [0:08:50] On the road. Alan is acting up again, harassing a youngster in a car nearby, nearly crashing the car into a truck [0:10:04], and yelling at and old man at a gas station [0:10:38]. Doug and Phil discuss Alan inside [0:11:15], then talk about Melissa’s “adventure” with a barman with Stu [0:11:25]. And how friends use Stu’s money to pay for everything [0:12:05].
  • [0:13:00] Welcome to Vegas (montage)

Catalyst

  • [0:13:40] Caesar Palace – Phil plays up his friends (and Stu’s money) to get an outrageously expensive room.
  • [0:15:30] Enter the room – wow! (montage)

Debate

  • [0:16:00] Stu describes the room to Melissa (of course, as entirely the opposite). Stu reveals he wants to propose to Melissa. Doug and Phil are telling him everything they think about her.
  • [0:18:00] Alan returns and suggests to go and have fun. Phil shows them up to the roof, they drink.
  • [0:20:00] Alan gives an awkward speech, trying to do some kind of crazy fraternity ritual. They calm down Alan and drink again – “for the evening we will not forget!”
  • [0:22:00] Quick image of time passing – it’s now morning in Las Vegas

Break into Two

  • [0:22:22] Waking up in a room with a chicken, a young lady walking out the door, a tiger in a bathroom and a baby in the closet. Stu’s tooth is missing. Doug is missing. Nobody remembers anything.

Fun and Games

  • [0:27:15] Friends leave the room, trying to figure out what the hell to do next. Phil takes the lead [0:28:37] in the “investigation”. Alan finds Stu’s tooth, Phil was in a hospital (wrist band), valet ticket for a car (they drove DUI).
  • [0:30:38] Mattress on the roof
  • [0:31:10] Police car – instead of Mercedes. Fun driving in traffic.
  • [0:32:43] Story from the doctor. Doug was still with them. Blood test reveals Rophynol – a date rape drug that causes blackouts. Doc remembered they talked about a wedding in Best Little Chapel.
  • [0:35:35] In the Best Little Chapel – Stu got married! – B Story begins
  • [0:39:00] Melissa calls Stu – again. He’s lying his way out again.
  • [0:39:36] Chinese gangsters show up, break the windshield and brandish a gun. The guys have to flee in the police car.
  • [0:41:20] Enter Jade – infant’s mother and now Stu’s wife. Jade tells her part of the story. Stu notices his grandmother’s ring is on Jade’s finger. Then Jade reveals that she’s an exotic dancer and a prostitute.

Midpoint – Bad Guys Close In

  • [0:43:47] Police storms in. Three friends in the police office, waiting for interrogation. Apparently, cops have a school day showing kids what they do. Alan kicks out the phone from one student who’s trying to take a picture.
  • [0:44:22] Phil calls Tracy to tell they’ll spend another night in Vegas. “We won a night in the hotel”.
  • [0:45:38] Interrogation. Cops found the Mercedes. Phil strikes a deal with the cops.
  • [0:47:47] The deal turns out to be a demo of electroshock weapon before the school kids. Same kid that Alan kicked now gets to shoot Alan.
  • [0:50:00] To their surprise, the car is in perfect condition. Friends are looking for clues in the car as they drive.
  • [0:52:28] They find a naked and angry Chinese guy in their trunk
  • [0:53:35] Alan confesses he put the drug into the drink – he thought it was ecstasy. Stu loses it for a moment. Phil calms everyone down and leads them to the next step – back to the hotel.
  • [0:55:30] Alan remembers about the tiger.
  • [0:56:00] Music in the room? Mike Tyson!? That was his tiger. And our friends now have to take the tiger to their house.
  • [0:58:38] Sedating the tiger with the same Rophynol pills. Tiger’s lullaby with the chicken on the piano.
  • [1:00:50] Transporting the tiger.
  • [1:01:43] The tiger wakes up on the road! They push the car the rest of the way to Mike Tyson’s house.
  • [1:03:14] Security cameras footage. Doug is still there.
  • [1:05:30] On the way back, friends discuss what to tell Tracy.

All is Lost

  • [1:05:53] Chinese gangsters smash into their car, making a mess of it. The same Chinese guy is demanding his bag back. They have Doug in the car. Friends need to get $80,000 and deliver it to the Chinese dude by dawn.
  • [1:09:32] Search for the bag (montage)

Break into Three

  • [1:10:24] Alan finds the book on Black Jack – an idea! Alan plays (montage), and quite well. Casino personnel starts to take notice.
  • [1:12:40] Jade takes a fall. While everyone’s busy helping the woman, Alan and Phil are long gone.
  • [1:13:16] Friends are driving to the meeting. It’s early sunrise.
  • [1:16:28] Wrong Doug! Turns out, he’s the drug dealer who sold Rophynol to Alan instead of ecstasy.
  • [1:17:47] Phil is making the phone call we’ve seen in the opening image. No Doug, no wedding…
  • [1:19:20] Stu finally understands it all – he knows where Doug is! Mattress – the only way to throw it down is from the roof.
  • [1:21:16] Doug is found!
  • [1:22:20] Airlines are all booked up. They have to drive back.
  • [1:22:41] Jade gives Stu back his ring. She also tells how Stu lost his tooth. Stu asks her out.
  • [1:24:49] Ride back (montage), as the bride is making her final preparations at home. Doug says he found casino chips for $80,000 in his bag. They barely make it to the wedding
  • [1:26:38] The wedding.
  • [1:29:00] Melissa catches up with Stu. He breaks up with her. B Story Ends

Final Image

  • [1:31:05] After the wedding. Alan finds Stu’s camera with… photos.
  • [1:32:02]-[1:33:54] – photo montage over credit roll. Oh my…