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Movie review: Same old story in 'Hangover II'

Published May 26, 2011 11:42 am

Review • Director's contempt for audience shows in this retread.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I've got a great idea for "The Hangover, Part III": Show director Todd Phillips counting the audience's money and laughing for 100 minutes.

That's perhaps the only way Phillips and his crew could show more contempt for their audience than they do by making "The Hangover, Part II," which repeats the formula of the 2009 predecessor almost exactly.

If you liked or even tolerated the first "Hangover," you'll probably laugh at this one. But if you seek originality or a shred of human feeling, watching "The Hangover, Part II" is as soul-deadening as waking up in a fleabag Bangkok hotel.

It's in Bangkok where our main characters — handsome Phil (Bradley Cooper), nerdy Stu (Ed Helms) and freakish manchild Alan (Zack Galifianakis) — wake up after a bender ahead of Stu's wedding to Lauren (Jamie Chung) in a Thai resort. Just as they did in Las Vegas, the three take inventory to recall what happened the night before.

There's no baby in the hotel room this time, but there is a monkey. Instead of their friend Doug (Justin Bartha) going missing, it's Lauren's 16-year-old brother Teddy (Mason Lee). And where Stu once lost a tooth, in Bangkok he's acquired an elaborate tattoo around his right eye. Oh, and again they meet Chow (Ken Jeong), the jive-talking criminal and horrifically racist stereotype.

When not insulting entire blocs of the population — namely, women and Asians — Phillips and co-writers Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong turn their main characters into pathetic idiots or, in the case of Galifianakis' Alan, an outright sociopath. That contempt is contagious, as I grew to hate these characters as much as the writers do.

It may be odd to discuss the morality of a raunchy comedy with no higher goal than generating laughs from penis jokes, but one must marvel that the cast of "The Hangover, Part II" balked at giving a cameo to Mel Gibson (a part now filled by Nick Cassavetes), but have no qualms sharing the screen again with ex-boxer, ear-biter and convicted rapist Mike Tyson.

Since Phillips apparently believes the audience can't remember the first "Hangover" movie, it's no stretch to believe he thinks we have forgotten more distant events, too. There's that contempt again.


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The Hangover Park II

"The Wolfpack" is back, in Bangkok and without a clue, in a sequel that's a crass rip-off of the first.

Where • Theaters everywhere

When • Opens Thursday, May 26

Rating • R for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images

Running time • 102 minutes






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