Blu-ray Double Feature – The Hangover and The Hangover Part II

the hangover the hangover2The Hangover directed by:

As this was the most talked about film of the year and a big surprise hit, I was very curious about “The Hangover”. I knew it was the latest in a long and usually offensive string of comedies that rely on crass and infantile humour rather than intelligence. I went in prepared and still came out of the experience offended.

Doug’s (Justin Bartha – New York, I Love You, National Treasure: Book of Secrets) friends Alan (Zach Galifianakis – Up in the Air, G-Force), Phil (Bradley Cooper – All About Steve, He’s Just Not That Into You) and Stu (Ed Helms – Confessions of a Shopaholic, Semi-Pro) decide to take him to Las Vegas for his bachelor party. After a wild night out Stu, Alan and Phil wake up to find a chicken and a tiger in their suite. They are all hungover, Stu’s missing a tooth and the suite is trashed. Most importantly they cannot find Doug.

They then hear a baby crying and open the closet to find a baby there. No one can remember a thing from the previous night. The three hungover men try to retrace their steps in order to try and find Doug. They are in a race for time and if they can’t find Doug in the next few hours, they are going to have to explain to Doug’s fiancée Tracy (Sasha Barrese – The Ring, Legally Blonde) why they are not yet back in Los Angeles. Even worse is the possibility that they will not be able to find Doug at all before his wedding.

As it seems many in the movie going population just need raunchy stuff and stupidity in their comedies and this film has that in spades. There is no real story other than a skeleton of one in order to set up the sequence of jokes. It is just one crass and crude situation after another. Am I really so out of touch with my funny bone that I don’t see the humour in a skit in which two police officers demonstrate how to use a taser on the three hungover friends in front of a class of young children. With the recent string of deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers and tasers I found this section in poor taste.

The comedy comes at a fast and furious pace. With nary a moment between crude jokes. It is definitely a film that fans of the Judd Apatow line of films will appreciate.

Not to be dismissed as a stodgy, out-of-touch critic I did find several of the scenes quite humorous, such as the wedding band and much of the odd things that comedian Zach Galifianakis does during the course of the film. But a few cheap laughs does not a good comedic film make. In my books, at least.

But what I feel does not mesh with what most think in regards to this film. It was wildly successful and there is already talk of making a sequel. So I guess that we’ll have another “Hangover” film in the future to disagree about.

The Hangover Part II directed by Todd Phillips:

After being the big surprise hit at the box office in 2009 you had to know that there would a sequel to The Hangover.  And you must have also known that it was going to be more of the same since it worked so well the first time.  The people were clamouring for more crass humour and so director Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Due Date) gave the people what they were asking for.

It is two years after that eventful bachelor party in Las Vegas and the friends are traveling together again.  This time they are going to Thailand for Stu’s (Ed Helms – from television’s The Office) wedding.  While there they are most certainly going to have a bachelor party.  Doug (Justin Bartha – National Treasure, Failure to Launch), Phil (Bradley Cooper – Limitless, The A-Team), Alan (Zach Galifianakis – Up in the Air, Puss in Boots), and Stu’s future brother-in-law, sixteen-year-old Teddy (Mason Lee – The Wedding Banquet), are all on the beach drinking beers and toasting marshmallows.  It seems like it is going to be a relatively quiet night.  Wrong!

Stu, Alan and Phil wake up in a dingy apartment in Bangkok.  Doug is back at the resort.  Stu’s got a face tattoo and Alan’s head is shaved.  There is a monkey with a severed finger.  Teddy, however, is missing.  The scary part is that none of them can remember a thing from the night before.  The guys must find Teddy before Stu has to tell Lauren (Jamie Chung – Sucker Punch, Grown Ups) that he lost her brother in Thailand.  They begin retracing their steps by piecing together little bits of memories.  That brings them through places like strip bars and tattoo parlors.  There is not a moment to spare if they are going to find Teddy before the wedding.

Rarely does one of these types of comedies work the second time around.  What was fresh, shocking and funny the first go around has an odor of been-there-seen-that the second time.  The Hangover 2 has the same premise and humour as the first one.  They have just changed locales.  Now I don’t think anyone thought this would be as funny, but they did hope it would be funny.

They really didn’t change a thing.  Every the jokes are the same.  And some of them go on way too long.  I found myself getting bored at different moments.  With the element of surprise taken away you see the jokes/gags for what they are – unfunny.  Even Mike Tyson (yes, he’s back) singing is not as funny this time.  Even the shock factor of seeing male genitalia wears off after a while.  There’s plenty of it in The Hangover II. While it is not as funny the second time around there is a ton more action.

Besides the retelling of the story in a different locale what I really found grating was the ton of supporting actors.  They were just stuffed in like clowns in a Volkswagon.  Chow (Ken Jeong – Knocked Up, Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Mr. Kingsley (Paul Giamatti – The Illusionist, Sideways), and, of course, a drug dealing, smoking monkey.

After the credits started rolling I had that taste in my mouth like you do the morning after the night before when you’ve had too much to drink.  Not pleasant.  I almost felt like I had a hangover after watching it.

Special Features:

-Map of Destruction
-The Madness of Ken Jeung
-Action Mash-Up
-Three Best Friends Song
-The Dan Band!
-Gag Reel
-More Pictures From the Missing Camera