‘The Hangover’ Stars Aren’t As Reckless As Their Wild Characters

'I really haven't done anything nearly as racy as most of what's in the movie,' Ed Helms says.

LAS VEGAS — [movie id="369201"]“The Hangover”[/movie] is the rare Hollywood comedy that is preposterous but believable, intelligent but stupid, well-written but largely improvised. It tells the story of four guys who go to Vegas for a bachelor party, drink too much, and wake up the next morning to a mystery involving tigers, babies, naked Japanese men — and a missing groom.

Normally, we’d write a news article discussing the making of the film. But to fully explain what “The Hangover” is all about, all you can really do is just stand back and let the stars of the film do what they do best. For instance, here’s the bizarre route they take while answering a question about the scene where [movieperson id="248471"]Zach Galifianakis’[/movieperson] character finds old pizza under a couch cushion and eats it.

MTV: Which of you is most likely to eat sofa pizza in real life?

[movieperson id="354576"]Ed Helms[/movieperson]: Oh, I think I’ve eaten sofa pizza.

Zach Galifianakis: I’d never do that.

[movieperson id="256873"]Bradley Cooper[/movieperson]: Yeah; if I was hungry I would.

Galifianakis: I have had ottoman tofu before.

Cooper: How’s that?

Galifianakis: It’s good, it’s pretty good.

Cooper: Is it? I don’t have any ottomans.

Directed by “Old School” filmmaker Todd Phillips, “The Hangover” follows a recipe he seems to have perfected: Hire three funny guys, throw half your script out the window and replace with improvs, and watch laughter ensue. “A lot comes through casting, just setting up the tone,” Phillips explained. “It’s just about getting the friendships to feel real.”

And the result — in both “Old School” and “The Hangover” — is a film that not only makes men feel like they’re hanging out with friends, but that they’re hanging out with the most clever, hilarious friends they’ve ever met. Like Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson before them, the three “Hangover” dudes love hanging out and riffing off each other — as shown again when we asked them about the scene where the trio realize they swiped a deadly animal from a boxer during their drunken evening in Vegas.

Helms: I really haven’t done anything nearly as racy as most of what’s in the movie — with the notable exception of stealing a tiger from Mike Tyson, which I did … I was mauled.

Galifianakis: I went and stole a panda from Leon Spinks, years and years ago.

Or when we asked about the scene where Galifianakis’ character pees in Mike Tyson’s pool:

Helms: I don’t think there’s any pool that I’ve ever been in that I haven’t peed in.

Galifianakis: Or took a dump in.

Helms: I used to be a lifeguard, actually. It was really fun with little kids because you could see them [when they had peed in the pool], their facial expression switches and you’re like, “OK, you need to stop.”

Cooper: That’s hilarious!

As a result, “The Hangover” is every bit as friendly and random — and yes, hilarious — as it is actually hanging out with these dudes. The only part that isn’t real, it seems, is their tendency to trash hotel rooms.

Helms: Oh gosh, I am so not that cool.

MTV: Here’s your chance, you guys are staying here in Vegas all weekend.

Helms: Yeah, let’s wreck a room!

Galifianakis: I once stole an ashtray from the La Quinta Inn, that’s it.

Helms: Dude, there’s, like, an all-points bulletin out for that ashtray. You are going to get in serious trouble!

Galifianakis: This was years ago; I don’t think anyone cares anymore.

Helms: Still, though — I think it’s one of those open cases.

Check out everything we’ve got on “The Hangover.”

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