Friday, June 10, 2011

The Hangover Part II

Written by Joe the Revelator

The simplicity of The Hangover and The Hangover II could be the key to its success. As a comedy it's an open-ended question, almost as easy as the game "I'm going on a picknick and I'm taking..." The close cousin to this is, and almost as relateable is; "I'm waking up from a drunken, debaucherous, blackout bender, and I find..."

Following the exact same formula as the first movie, our heroes Zack Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, and Ed Helms, wake up in a hotel room after a bachelor party, surrounded by empty liquor bottles, drug paraphenalia, and wreckage from last night. Memories have been wiped as effectively as the flash-machine from Men In Black, thanks to Galifianakis's character and his wanton use of drug cocktails to spike his friends. And again, someone from the wedding party has gone missing during the fray, so it's up to the bleary-eyed to piece together clues from last night's revelry.

Holla' for the city of squalla'

The latest hangover takes place in Bangkok, amidst rundown neighborhoods of shanties, clapboard markets, and grungy apartments. The group follows the trail of breadcrumbs (or cocain crumbs) back through their path of destruction. Their reign of terror is so broad this go-around they actually manage to start a riot against the Thai swat force, burn down a marketplace, kidnap an elderly monk, and stage a deal between the DEA and a mob boss. If the Hangover III tries to up the ante any further, the next bachelor party will involve presidential assassination by the three drunken stooges.

Super-Raunch is the theme of the movie. There's more drug use and male phalice in Hangover II than a night of inner city prostitution. Cinima has slowly stepped away from exposing too much breast in horror and comedy, and moved into the realm of full frontal male nudity. It's also in the form of old chinese men and ladyboys of Thailand. The word 'tasteful' doesn't even live in the same world as Hangover II.

The charm of the first movie was its subtle naivete and confusion. The characters seemed to be taken off guard by waking up in a trashed hotel room. Their adventure through the bright lights of Las Vegas was in a fog, as if they were victims of circumstances arranged by Mr. Hyde. It was a novelty. During the sequel I had the feeling this was almost habitual for the characters by now. The bloom is off the rose. One of the characters says "You know the drill," as they empty their pockets for phone records and loose change, and by now the audience should know the drill too.

As the pig-matter splatters:

A year ago I found myself recommeneding The Hangover to anyone who likes slapstick or raunch comedy. Now, I would only recommend The Hangover Part II to those who enjoyed the first movie. It lacked the humor of drunken bewilderment, and instead went strait for the genitals, litterally. "How the hell did this happen?" has become; "Look what we did!" The progenitor to this sort of film, and funnier on some levels, would be Bachelor Party with Tom Hanks.

Inevitably, the best part of the movie is the photo album reveal at the end, where the bizarre, enebriated journey is summed up in a series of grotesque snapshots.

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