By Michaela Zanello

When you think of the Golden Globe Awards, you don’t generally associate a film that involves a flock of Las Vegas-bound man-boys getting into all kinds of trouble with hookers, tigers, and a Chinese mob boss (oh, my!) as one that would fit in with the types of films that are customarily venerated. Yet, this year, the Golden Globes are honoring exactly such a film. Director Todd Phillips’ (“Old School,” “Road Trip”) “The Hangover,” which you could say is the ugly duckling of the Golden Globes, has been nominated in the Best Motion Picture, Comedy category, a decision that has been causing a considerable amount of hullabaloo.

Concerning this issue, it is being argued that including “The Hangover” in the Best Motion Picture, Comedy category is going to water down the award’s prestige level from that of a rich glass of Romane Conti to a diluted can of Keystone Light. Sure, it’s true that it is difficult to envision the prospect of a Golden Globe or Academy Awards ceremony where a gross-out flick about stunted manhood is contending in the same league that has previously honored films like “The Godfather” and “Citizen Kane,” but that probably has a lot to do with the fact that it’s just never been done before. Moreover, “The Godfather” and “Citizen Kane” are two extraordinary examples of outstanding cinematic achievement, the likes of which remain unparalleled, so it’s really not fair to include them in this discussion. With that said, what it really comes down to is the way that films are being assessed.

What really has people hot and bothered about “The Hangover” being nominated is that this film is a raunchy, ode to man-boyhood that is not exactly a touching artsy comedy like the critically acclaimed “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Juno,” who both worked their poignant indie charms to garner accolades. This is not a fair assessment, however.

There are many different subgenres of the comedy genus, including screwball, black comedy, parody, anarchic comedy, and gross-out, a subgenre that has become increasingly popular with films like “There’s Something About Mary” and “American Pie.” Scoffing at gross-out comedies just because they aren’t in accord with what has traditionally been construed as quality cinema doesn’t mean that this type of film should forever be banished from award ceremonies. Think of the great, French artist Toulouse-Lautrec whose colorful renditions of Parisian nightlight were once considered sleazy and raunchy but are now celebrated as some of the greatest paintings of the Post-Impressionist period.

This is not to say, however, that “The Hangover” is the cinematic equivalent of a Toulouse-Lautrec painting. Although “The Hangover” definitely does have many good things going for it, such as the use of a nifty, backwards narrative stunt and a great performance from Zach Galifianakis, the film’s overall comedic content is rather uninspired with a significant amount of dead air time in between laughs. In conclusion, while “The Hangover” might not be the most award-worthy of the gross-out comedies (“Knocked Up” probably would have been more deserving), this is not to say that a truly commendable gross-out feature won’t come along in the future.