The success of the “Hangover” films — the first one made more money than “II,” but “II,” oddly, made more overseas — may have to do with the way the characters clash and complement each other. Phil is handsome and confident, Stu less so and unsure of himself, and Alan is all naked id and consistently inappropriate. Together, they sort of make up one whole person.
“I never thought of it that way,” said Helms, “but I do think the reason why this movie resonates for people is that, on a superficial level, these characters are very much recognizable archetypes, with the cool guy, a nerd and a weirdo. Hopefully, we brought a little more nuance to it than just that, but I think more than it being different sides of a single personality, it’s more that they’re all universally recognized types. And,” he jokes, “Bradley is clearly the nerd.”
Countered Cooper: “I feel like we have talked about that aspect,” he said, “especially when you consider the writer-director combination and how the team functions as a triumvirate, you know, the three characters specifically. What was interesting to me was that, originally, I felt that Alan and Phil were the pillars and Stu was in the middle. But now having seen the three movies in total, it almost feels like Stu and Phil are the pillars and Alan is the thing that has changed.”
Alan is still insane, of course, Galifianakis not far behind.
“I always thought the story behind Alan, I felt, was that he was a DJ at Rave,” he said of the West Hollywood nightclub, “just using bad drugs and his mind melted. That’s how I feel.”
Phillips, whose comedies include “Due Date,” “Starsky & Hutch” and “Old School,” defended Alan.
“He’s always had these unique abilities,” Phillips said, “whether it was counting cards or his beautiful singing voice. Little things we find out about Alan, little surprises, where you’re like, ‘There’s something magnificent about this guy.’ He’s not just a left-footed guy out of step with the rest of the world; there’s some beauty there. What do they think the notoriously mother-hating Alan got his mom for Mother’s Day?”