Thursday, May 26, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: The Hangover: Part II

Guest blogger Liz Parker is back from an advance screening of "The Hangover: Part II".  Is it red hot funny or a hot mess?  Let's read what Liz thinks...

The original Hangover came out in May 2009, when I had just finished college, and since I was car-less at the time, I was relegated to seeing it on DVD later on that year. I was both shocked and amused by it, and it was a very funny film. I was hoping that The Hangover: Part II would have just as much debauchery as the first, and it definitely did; unfortunately, the movie follows the same formula as the first with few changes.

The so-called Wolfpack is in Thailand for the wedding of Stu (Ed Helms, "Cedar Rapids"), and he's determined not to let their partying get out of hand. He, his friends, and his fiancee's 16-year-old brother, Teddy (Mason Lee, "Chosen"), decide to each have one beer on the beach to celebrate, and then head to bed. The next morning, however, he wakes up in a sleazy Bangkok hotel with Teddy missing, a tattoo on Stu's face, and Alan's (Zach Galifianakis, "Due Date") hair (but not his beard) shaved off. They also find their old "friend" Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong, TV's "Community") in the room with them, and they have no idea how he got there. The three of them must figure out where Teddy is, how they got to Bangkok, and a few other mysteries as well, and make it back to the island hotel before Stu's wedding the next day.

If you are a fan of the original Hangover, you will like this movie. I thought it was definitely hilarious and worth seeing, although not quite as hilarious as the first, since we already know how crazy it's going to be. There was rampant nudity throughout, including one scene in a strip club I don't think I'll forget anytime soon, as well as lots of swearing. Justin Bartha's ("Holy Rollers") character Doug gets left out of the fun again, as he left the bonfire early and didn't get swept up with the rest of the guys, but this works well for the movie, since the original "Wolfpack" (Bradley Cooper, Galifianakis, and Helms) get to navigate Bangkok together, similar to their adventures in Vegas in the first movie. Paul Giamatti ("Win Win") has a small role in the movie as well, which I didn't know before seeing it, and there is an interesting cameo at the end, though he's listed in the IMDB page for the movie if you don't like surprises. The film has a Detroit-area connection too: Justin Bartha grew up in West Bloomfield, and in fact graduated from the same high school (West Bloomfield High) that I did, in 1996.

Maybe see this film. My only complaint about the film is that it followed the exact formula of the first: person goes missing, the Wolfpack must find that person before a wedding, etc. Even some of the lines were the same, albeit adjusted for Thailand instead of Vegas. The end of the film clears up any unanswered questions by one of the characters "finding" pictures from their night of craziness on his phone, and the Wolfpack looking at them, which was exactly the same as the first film (but no less hilarious and/or raunchy). If you liked the original, however, you will most likely like this one; just be prepared that it's "darker" than the first, as one critic put it, and not quite as funny.

The Hangover: Part II is in theaters today, May 26th.

Liz Parker is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan. She currently works as an Assistant Medical Editor for a pathology website. Visit her at her movie blog Yes/No Films
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