I really liked The Hangover, and the main reason for this is Zach Galifianakis, who consistently steals the show with his deadpan performance as Alan, a bizarre and sometimes slightly disturbing young man who joins his soon-to-be brother-in-law and two other guys in Las Vegas for a bachelor party weekend. What I know of Galifianakis is mostly based on his performance in The Hangover and his online videos (I especially like his music videos and his interview series Between Two Ferns). I've never seen him live, though I hear he's even more hilarious to watch in person.
In a recent interview, Hangover director Todd Phillips summed up for me precisely what makes Galifianakis's kind of comedy so effective — and so endearing:
And I think with Zach, I don't think anyone has it expect maybe Will Ferrell doing comedies right now, is the sweetest, most innocent eyes and face, so he can get away with so much. So much of the comedians we all love, Jack Black, Ben Stiller, there's a darkness to them, which is what we love about them, but you look at Will's eyes and there is no darkness in Will, and there is no darkness in Zach. It's just sweetness, so they get to get away with sh*t that no one else can get away with.
It's also just refreshing to see a new face amidst the same old comedic group we've been watching for years, and apparently Phillips had this in mind when he cast Zach: "I really wanted this movie to feel as real as possible and I really feel like we've been seeing the same ten faces in a lot of movies, not just comedies but movies, and I just thought let's shake it up."
Well, he shook it up! And once The Hangover comes out, I'm sure Galifianakis will score legions of new fans which will, awesomely, lead to that sweet and "innocent" face appearing in more hilarious projects. I can't wait.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.