(2011) director Todd Phillips
viewed: 05/27/11 at CineArts @ the Empire Theater, SF, CA
The inevitable sequel to the crass comedy hit The Hangover (2009), The Hangover: Part II brings back “the wolfpack”, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis, the bachelor party trio from hell. Throw back in the shameless Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow the international criminal, drop them off in Thailand, add booze, painkillers, and other unprescribed meds and the trio wake up in a godforsaken Bangkok hotel room with a new series of mysteries to solve about just what happened the night before.
I still think it’s a pretty good set-up for a story. Director/co-writer Todd Phillips sticks with the basic concepts from the prior film. This time it’s not the missing groom (it’s Helm’s character’s wedding) but the 16 year old younger brother of his beautiful Thai bride to be who is not with them when they wake up, only the boy’s finger in a bowl of water. Helms has a Mike Tyson tattoo on his face, Galifianakis is bald, and there is capuchin monkey in their midst.
One of the best gags comes when Mr. Chow prepares to tell them what happened and then suddenly OD’s. The movie does have laughs and does have moments, but for the most part, it’s just not clicking this time around. At points when Phillips is trying to ratchet up the outrageousness and insanity, I didn’t find myself laughing, just watching.
The monkey is pretty funny.
The characters are all a little more unlikeable in this film. Cooper’s character tries to steal Helms’ prescription pad from his dental office. Gallifianakis’ weird, demanding anti-social behavior is supposed to be bad and tasteless, but it ranges much more toward a misanthropic edge. Maybe it was just because I wasn’t laughing as much that I had pause to consider the the tenor of the characters and the film.
At one point, the Galifianakis sticks something under the robe of a wheelchair-bound Buddhist monk to make it look like he has an erection. The monkey then starts chewing or licking the end of this and everyone, including the monk and all the other people on the little bus share a laugh at this. Galifianakis’s character observes, “A monkey licking on a penis is funny in any language.” Or something to that effect.
And you know, that is about the mentality of much of this film.