After a bachelor party gone bad, a trio led by Bradley Cooper’s cocky schoolteacher track down their missing buddy/groom (Justin Bartha) and drag him back to get hitched. When the wedding party gets going, a man you might recognize steps to the mic and belts out a supremely raunchy version of 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop.” That man is Dan Finnerty of The Dan Band, and he’s become something of a muse for director Todd Phillips. In fact, Phillips, who’s utilized Finnerty’s comedic crooning talents in “Old School” and “Starsky & Hutch,” has called the singer his good luck charm.
“That’s what someone told me, and I’ll take it,” Finnerty told MTV News recently. “I’m gonna get t-shirts made.”
What is it about the singer that has Phillips coming back again and again? “I think because we’re so awesome,” Finnerty explains.
Phillips and Finnerty first met years ago when the band was performing at “Terminator Salvation” director McG’s birthday party. Phillips thought they were great and looped them into “Old School,” in which Finnerty performed a rocking, vulgar version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” during Will Ferrell’s wedding scene.
For “Starsky,” Phillips’ handpicked Roberta Flack’s “Feel Like Making Love” for Finnerty to sing during a Bat Mitzvah. “My big fight on that one was the afro,” Finnerty said, explaining that he selected a huge orange wig to wear during the performance, only to have Phillips dismiss the wardrobe choice.
“No way dude, it’s too big!” Finnerty said of Phillips’ response to the accessory.
Undeterred, Finnerty approach the hair and makeup people with one request: “Can you trim down this little orphan Annie afro?” They did, and the ‘fro made it into the picture.
When Finnerty got word that Phillips was gearing up for “Hangover”—and a finale that would take place at a wedding—the singer knew he had to get in on the action. “I was like, ‘Oh god, please!’” he said. “I just hang out outside [Todd’s] house. I have a little Todd Phillips altar here and I rub the belly in the morning.”
Finnerty got the okay and then had to deliver something a little bit different than his usual mix of female-driven power pop. “[Todd] wanted something—not gangster rap—but something more hardcore than I probably would have brought,” he said. “He wanted a raunchy, sex kind of hip-hop song. I thought about anything from Missy Elliott—I can do that!”
They ended up going with 50 Cent. But in the middle of filming, Phillips decided he wanted Finnerty to play a second song. Only problem was that the band on set wasn’t actually his band: he was just singing live over pre-recorded music. But he did have the instrumentals for the theme song to “Fame” on his iPhone.
“We could plug that s— in!” he suggested, and they did.
Before “Hangover” even grossed $52 million over its opening weekend, a sequel was already in the works. And of course, Finnerty is hoping Phillips again calls his number.
“Look, I’ll be on his front lawn starting tomorrow,” he said. “With the statue and the rubbing!”