The Hangover Part II
In the last several years Hollywood has run out of ideas so instead of making new movies, they just recycle old ones. Usually, it takes a decade or two before a movie is remade. In this case, it took just two years.
The Hangover Part II is essentially a shot for shot remake of the first film. But instead of being in Vegas, we get Thailand.
The first twenty minutes is a reunion of sort: all the guys come back together for another shindig. They catch up, rag on each other, and react to Alan’s bizarre behavior and antics. Nothing big happens, but the beginning is charming and funny.
And that’s when the sequel kicks into cliché gear. You can almost picture a cheesy narrator announcing: “Here we go again!”
The boys get lost in Thailand, this time with a few new characters. Ken Jeong plays a bigger part as Mr. Chow, and the new lost guy is Teddy, the young brother-in-law.
The boys retrace their steps once again, and discover all the havoc they created the night before. They cause a riot, hang out with a monkey, and meet some chicks with dicks. This time around the scenes are even more absurd, but not nearly as funny.
There are lots of laughs, but without the clever writing and mystery, the Hangover 2 loses its charm. The original movie was so successful because even without the comedy, it was still a well-made who-done-it. Even my Mom liked the first one because she wanted to know what happened (that and she thinks Bradley Cooper is hot.)
But in the sequel (or the remake), we basically know what’s going to happen before every scene. As a result, it’s just another raunchy comedy with hit and miss laughs.
Fortunately, the Hangover II still boasts three great characters that make the movie watchable. Alan’s antics get a little old by the end, but he does provide a number of laughs. Phil is the straight man, and Stu mixes things up with his nice guy routine. My favorite bit may have been Stu’s rendition of Allentown by Billy Joel (one of two Billy Joel songs featured in the film, the other being “The Downeaster Alexa.”)
The last 30 minutes or so felt a lot like a hangover. My senses were dulled, my head hurt a little, and I kind of wished it would stop. The scenes with Paul Giamatti were useless and the twists were incredibly predictable or just plain absurd.
The traditional slideshow ended the movie on a fun note, but this hangover was not nearly enjoyable as the first. I guess Hangover’s are never as fun the second time around. (Review of The Hangover.)
Waiting in line for Bridesmaids was one of those really uncomfortable experiences. For some reason, they made us wait outside on the street for all to see me. And I couldn’t pretend I was seeing something else…the signs made it very clear that it was a line for Bridesmaids. I tilted my head down and pretended to look for something on the ground to blind my face. Sure, there were a few other guys, but they were either overly enthusiastic to be there or dragged along by their girlfriends. It felt like Sex and the City 3 more than anything else. I just wanted to get in there and watch it already.
But maybe I stumbled onto something brilliant: picking up girls at the movies. I’ve never tried it and still haven’t. But there must be a group of creepy and desperate guys who scout out chick flicks just to meet women. I wonder if it works.
Before I delve into the movie, I need to preface it with this: I am a misogynist when it comes to comedy. My top 10 favorite comedians are all men. My top 10 comedy movies feature male main characters. I don’t get Rosie, Ellen, and Chelsea. The Sweetest Thing certainly was not the funniest thing. Bride Wars and Monster-in-Law—no thank you. Even Sarah Silverman doesn’t do it for me. I know this isn’t getting me any points with the ladies. I can picture mobs of women banding together to burn me at the stake. I’m sorry, but that’s just how I feel.
So when I saw a trailer for Bridesmaids, I immediately cringed. Watching women catfight at a bachelorette party and fart from eating too much just wasn’t my idea of funny. I secretly hoped the film would tank so the attempted female comedies would just stop already.
But then something happened. Everyone I spoke to raved about Bridesmaids. Sure, it was mostly from women, but they were so happy. One friend enjoyed it so much, she felt drunk afterwards (the good kind of drunk.) She couldn’t stop smiling. A pair of random girls next to me at lunch (whom I eavesdropped on) grinned ear to ear as they described their favorite scenes.
And I cannot hide the fact that I’ve actually been a bridesmaid. No, I didn’t wear a dress (couldn’t lose enough weight), but I was on the emails about the bachelorette party. I gained new insight into how women think and how they plan parties. I even considered attending the bachelorette party, but at the last minute, I joined the guys instead. The guys made fun of me, but I was proud to be a bridesmaid. It was fun!
So I finally hiked up my skirt and decided to go see the movie.
Bridesmaids is smart and the writers took their time crafting a fairly good comedy. The first scene gets the audience into it right away. You can never go wrong, chick flick or not, with sex in the first few minutes. And it’s fun to see a woman’s perspective of how men are in bed. Apparently, we’re not as good as we think we are.
Kriten Wiig plays Annie, the nice girl lovable loser. To understand better, she’s basically Ben Stiller from Meet the Parents or There’s Something About Mary, but she’s a lady. Everyone craps on her even though she’s a cool girl.
Her life is down in the dumps but things get worse when she’s asked to be Lillian’s maid of honor. She’s in charge of all the bachelorette duties and has to put up with an eclectic mix of weirdo chicks.
The movie works for the most part because the characters are either relatable or funny. It helps that there’s a nice balance between the straight characters and wacky ones. So when the craziness erupts, we’re on the side of Annie, and the comedy doesn’t seem so forced.
There are a few “big” scenes. Some work, some don’t. But give Kristen Wiig credit. She puts in every ounce of energy to try and make them successful. My favorite scene takes place on an airplane. It’s reminiscent of the classic Seinfeld episode where Jerry sits first class and Elaine is in coach, and it’s just as funny. And the heavyset girl, played by Melissa McCarthy, steals a number of scenes too.
Bridesmaids lost me at some points, maybe because I was a guy. As some women shrieked in the audience in laughter, I simply smiled or just shrugged deeming them as cute scenes. The catfighting got a little tiresome, and I was thankful when the main character finally put an end to it.
Bridesmaids was not the life changing experience that some of my female friends described, but it was a decent movie. And I understood their excitement. Finally, there was a comedy featuring women that was both sincere and kind of funny.
So guys, if your girlfriend drags you along to this chick flick, it’s not a bad deal. You’ll laugh a bit, and learn a little something about women at the same time.