Thursday, June 2, 2011
Squalor: The Hangover Part II
A mutual friend of ours said, cleverly, that while watching Part II, he often felt as though he were watching a darkly funny episode of "Without a Trace." Yep, that's the other problem. In spite of the shootouts and kidnappings, the original film succeeded in part because the danger was somehow kept at bay. Perhaps it's because Vegas is oddly contained, perhaps because the pure absurdity of the situations allowed it to remain that way. In Bangkok, the proverbial shit gets real. This time, when the Wolfpack (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis) gather for Stu's destination wedding, they put more than their own lives on the line. After losing track of Stu's fiance's 16-year old brother, the boys run through situation after situation, with the consequences becoming dire. Body parts are lost, body parts are found, we find ourselves laughing at the nastiest bits of raunch and rolling with the punches as we cross our fingers that this one actually does possess a happy ending. While the patterns are repeated, they're often uncomfortably so. The beauty of The Hangover was that it was (in spite of a good amount of typical crudity) still the sort of movie your parents would probably laugh at. This one isn't that. This one has a mean streak, a sadistic tendency, and, seemingly, a reluctant hatred of its characters. Stu is punished repeatedly without reason. Phil (Cooper) is painted as an even more vapid asshole than the first time around (where his narcissism was oddly endearing). Alan? Well, Alan is Alan. Galifianakis again steals all his scenes. His comic timing is brilliant, he gets the best lines, and he seems to know exactly where to stand in each arrangement. This time, though, he does so with an unnerving grin, a shaved head, and sunglasses that seem to belie his every intention.