Thursday, May 30, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—The Hangover, Part II (2011) ***

R, 102 min.
Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong, Todd Phillips, Jon Lucas (characters), Scott Moore (characters)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Justin Bartha, Paul Giamatti, Mike Tyson, Jeffrey Tambor, Mason Lee, Jamie Chung, Sasha Barrese, Gillian Vigman, Aroon Seeboonruang, Yasmin Lee, Nick Cassavetes, Bryan Callen

I find it odd that people would complain that “The Hangover, Part II” is basically the same as the first one. Isn’t that the point? I’m all for originality, especially in sequels, but sometimes the originality lies within how exactly the filmmakers can replicate the same situation for the characters in an entertaining way. “The Hangover, Part II” might lack a little bit of the fresh spirit of the original, but it excels at throwing its characters back into nearly mirroring circumstances of the original despite that fact that these men should’ve learned from their mistakes in the first film.

This time it is Stu’s wedding to a Thai woman, with a father who doesn’t approve of her choice and a brother who at 16 is already everything that Stu isn’t. It isn’t Stu who gets left on a rooftop in Bangkok, however, because that wouldn’t be enough the same as the original. It isn’t the Justin Bartha character from the original either. The sociopathic Alan is once again responsible for their night of memory loss; and the even greater sociopath, Mr. Chow, sees his role slightly increased from the original.

When it comes down to it, I laughed frequently. Because of this, I can hardly pretend that I’m better than this movie or the millions of fans who embraced it as much as the original. I don’t really know what it is about these characters, but they are funny. I think they’re more normal than the people you usually find in grossout comedies such as this. Ed Helms’ Stu is the key. He’s such a normal guy; making him the focal point of this second film is essential to its success. I haven’t seen the third in the series yet, but I’m a little wary at hearing that Alan and Mr. Chow are more centric to the plot this time. They’re not the characters that people connect with. I certainly will give it a try, though. The Wolfpack hasn’t disappointed me yet.

WARNING! The clip below contains explicit language.

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