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The Hangover Part II

[Rating: 1.5/5]

Much like its predecessor, “Hangover Part II” is a thoughtful reflection on the duality of human nature, and the darkness that lies within the best of people, and the prettiest of places.  On location in a beautiful paradise and just hours before a joyful event celebrating love, honor, respect and commitment between two people, three friends wake up to find themselves in a virtual hell, with no memory of the string of events that led them there.  What’s surprising is just how close they live to the edge of the precipice between paradise and hades; in the presence of a certain mix of narcotics and alcohol, these men discover their inner Mr. Hydes and…

Wait.  WTF?  No it isn’t.  “The Hangover, Part II” isn’t about duality and demons; it’s about monkey masturbation and she-males. It’s about facial tattoos and fart jokes.  But I’m tired of complaining that dumb comedies are dumb.  Nobody making the Hangover movies is trying to be smart.  Nobody watching them wants to them to be.  Trying to “think” about these movies – which is usually the prelude to writing about them” is like trying to drink ice cream.   So here’s what I can say; if you saw the first film and laughed, you’ll probably laugh at the second film, but not as much.

A few “thoughts” about “Hangover, Part II” :

  • Ok, first off, why the pretentious title with the roman numerals and all?  Why not just “Hangover 2”?  Are we trying to be “The Godfather” here?
  • More Zach Galafianakas does not equal funnier Zach Galafianakas.  His comedy is a balancing act; it’s about seeming mostly normal, and then saying something that makes you wonder if he’s really just totally bonkers.  He played this pretty well in the first movie; he came off as a really unbalanced guy who mostly knew how to keep his mouth shut so the people around him wouldn’t know just how unhinged from reality he really was.   Not the case in “Hangover 2;”  from the beginning, he’s front and center, and crazy as hell.  Not as funny.
  • I think I’ve finally figured out why these movies leave me feeling so unsatisfied (and it’s not the penis jokes.)  It’s because I watch too many movies.  The format of the Hangover films is a pretty classic setup:  hero wakes up not knowing where he is or how he got there, has a few items around him that serve as clues, and must follow the clues to get his life back.  Really, it’s the same setup as the Bourne movies, and “Source Code,” and “Unknown,” many other action thrillers.  But in all those movies, there’s always an action payoff; the hero stops being a normal guy and becomes a hero, discovering an inner strength (and usually martial arts skills) to protect the ones they love, defeat the bad guy, and get their life back.  But the Hangover movies refuse to play it that way; our heroes completely refuse to do anything heroic, and there’s no action sequence, and no payoff.  It could play as action-comedy, but it’s just comedy instead.  I could say there’s something noble and true in that, but mostly it feels disappointing.  And I refuse to say there’s anything noble and true in a movie about monkey masturbation.
  • So what I said at the beginning of the review was mostly BS…but not completely.  Kudos to the writers for making an attempt to deal with the extreme unlikelihood of this kind of crazy situation happening twice.  Stu actually decides it’s something in him that causes this to happen, and uses that knowledge to stand up to his unkind father-in-law.  Not sure the way he does that makes any sense at all, but hey, at least it’s a try.
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