Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Hangover 1 and 2

The Hangover [2009] is definitely one of my favorite comedies. I saw it much later than all my friends so I heard a lot about it, and as you know in those situations there is always the risk of having your expectations raised too high. Happily, this did not happen. I saw it and I thoroughly enjoyed it save for two points of dis-satisfaction:
A) I'm a fan of Galifianakis but I did not enjoy his character nor his character's humor. Having seen him in The Hangover and Due Date [2010], I believe Zach's best work lies off the silver screen. When I refer to "his character" I am referring to the awkward dopey dumbass he appears to be type-casted as.
B) The flamboyant gay Asian played by Ken Jeong. Over the top in an unfunny kind of way in my opinion.

Unlike some comedies, like Your Highness [2011] (>︵<), The Hangover was a funny movie as a whole rather than an unfunny blob with sprinkles of funny. Ok, maybe a funny movie with a few unfunny sprinkles. Again, I didn't care for Zach's humor being entirely based on his social awkwardness and ignorance of how to behave in public.

When I saw the trailer for the Hangover Part II [2011] I was both excited and trepidatious. How will it measure up to the first? How will the story work out this time? Oh no, Galifianakis is in this one too... I wonder if Doug will go missing with them this time? He kinda missed out on the 'fun' last time, being stuck on the roof and all.

This time the movie takes place in Thailand. My first thought was: "Hey there should be plenty of Asian characters so they won't just have a single stereotype-ridden guy".

[Spoilers may be ahead]
I wasn't disappointed. I got a whole bunch of Asian stereotypes! The stern father who pushes his son to over-achieve, the over-achieving 16 year-old Stanford pre-med virtuoso cellist, etc. Otherwise, the gang encountered a disappointing number of white expats.

The build-up to the expected 'morning after' was brisk. Alan's still awkward, Doug is married, Stu is still a dentist. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was waiting through the exposition for the "real action" to start.
Phil seems to be the glue that holds both the group and the action together. In the first movie, everyone except Phil had a special thing of sorts. Alan found his friend black Doug and won a ton of money playing blackjack. Doug ended up on the roof. Stu got married to a stripper.
Phil acts as an informal leader, putting together clues and following leads with a comparatively level head. Stu doesn't have enough spine and Alan doesn't have enough brains to do the job. Each of the characters more or less falls back into their familiar niche for this film.
Unfortunately, Alan hasn't gotten any smarter in the interim. I really hoped he would be "roof-ed" this time around so as to minimize the impact of his re-tard antics. This was not to be. Once again everything is his fault. He still laughs at inappropriate times, he insists on making a cringing ass of a spectacle of himself and, just like in Due Date, he doesn't know how to handle firearms safely. I actually groaned with disappointment when a gun dealer lays a micro Uzi on the table because I immediately knew that Alan would get his hands on it and say something to the effect of "whoa, is that real?" *blam* *blam*. I was disappointingly correct. Stu, if you had more backbone this sort of thing wouldn't have happened to you guys again. I'm jus' sayin'.

Alan has an illuminating dream sequence a third of the way through the movie, illuminating for us and him. He actually sees the 'wolf pack' as teenagers rather than grown men.
I was happy to see Leslie get a larger bit in this movie. The man can drive, haha. He's as flaming as ever but he can drive.

I liked it. I've heard some people say it didn't measure up to the first and I can see why they would say that, but I liked it. It fell short of the first by only a little bit, if only from a lack of novelty.