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THIS REVIEW DEALS WITH GRAPHIC SEXUAL CONTENT AND IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN.

MPAA Rating
Credits
Genre
Comedy
Cast
Bradley Cooper as Phil; Ed Helms as Stu; Zach Galifianakis as Alan; Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow; Paul Giamatti as Kingsley
Director
Todd Phillips (Due Date, The Hangover, School for Scoundrels, Starsky & Hutch, Old School, Road Trip)
Distributor
Warner Bros.
In Theaters
May 26, 2011
On Video
December 6, 2011
Reviewer
Bob Hoose
The Hangover Part II

The Hangover Part II

Another Hangover? Or is the cultural headache spawned by the morally vacuous pulp we call comedy just steadily pounding away? Anybody got an aspirin?

Man, these guys go to a lot of weddings! Friends Phil, Stu, Doug and Alan are now headed to a resort in Thailand for the festivities, where Stu is set to be … the groom. And he's determined that things will go smoothly this time, so he refuses a bachelor party.

But, hey, this is the sequel to The Hangover, so the story's got to get around to a doozy of a party and a thumper of a headache sometime:

After a disastrous rehearsal dinner where Stu's future father-in-law speaks of his disappointment with his daughter's choice, and the man-child Alan begins telling raw tales about the past, Stu is ready for at least one beer. So he and the guys—along with 16-year-old soon-to-be brother-in-law Teddy—head to a beach bonfire for a single cool one apiece.

Bam! The crew groggily wakes up the next morning in a roach-infested Bangkok hotel with no idea what happened over the last 12 hours. They do know that Stu's face is decorated with a fresh tattoo. That Alan's head is shaved. That an old acquaintance named Mr. Chow is on the floor with his pants down. That there's a drug-pushing monkey in the bathroom. And that Teddy … well, there's no sign of the premed prodigy except for his ring finger sitting in a bowl of ice.

The clock starts ticking. They have to figure out where they are, what happened to them, where's the rest of Teddy, and somehow still get back to the wedding on time. It's probably a good thing that they don't yet know about the mute monks, the Russian mob boss or the hermaphrodite prostitutes.

I wish I didn't.

Positive Elements

Can we give Stu credit for at least trying to avoid alcohol before his wedding? Or is that really just one more negative strike against him for being so weak-willed? More solid is the fact that Stu and Co. do work very hard to find Teddy in Bangkok.

Spiritual Content

The guys spring an ancient monk from jail and find their way to a Buddhist monastery in search of Teddy. The head of the monastery tells them they were there the previous night asking about "love and the meaning of life."

In the background Johnny Cash sings, "God help the beast in me." Stu takes an honest look at his weaknesses and foul choices, saying repeatedly, "I have a demon in me." He later uses that as a positive statement to prove to his father-in-law that he isn't as bland as the man thought.

Sexual Content

While retracing their steps the guys return to a brothel. There it's revealed that Stu had sex the previous night with a hermaphrodite prostitute. And we see several female and male/female prostitutes walking around fully nude.

During the closing credits a montage of cellphone snapshots further flesh out the boozing, sexing and drug-taking of the guy's forgotten frolic. Included in the series of stills: unobstructed pornographic images of naked women performing public sex acts on themselves and others. Shots of Stu having sex with his hermaphrodite partner are also in the mix.

Earlier in the film we're exposed to barely covered pole dancers, close-ups of a man's penis that is squeezed and licked by a monkey, Mr. Chow naked from the waist down, and numerous women in formfitting and/or low-cut outfits. Stu runs around dressed in a T-shirt and briefs. Alan puts a bottle in an old man's pants to simulate an erection.

The guys also spend quite a bit of time discussing: past and present sexual interludes, anal sex, erections, watching someone else having sex, someone's gayness, the size of Stu's fiancée's breasts, the humor they find in watching the monkey nibbling on the penis and the bestial idea of being sexually stimulated by said monkey. A Russian club owner offers the sexual services of a child for $2,000.

Violent Content

A snapshot shows Teddy cutting off his finger while drunk and playing a game of mumbly peg. We see the finger in a bowl of ice and Teddy's hand wrapped with a bloodied rag. Phil is shot in the shoulder by a drug dealer. The guys grab the drug-mule monkey and are chased by dealers and thugs who riddle their car with bullets. The monkey ends up getting shot in the chest. The thugs crash and tumble their vehicles.

A monk hits the guys repeatedly with a bamboo pole. Cellphone pictures show them starting a drunken riot in the streets of Bangkok. Flaming bottles of alcohol catch several buildings on fire. (We see the smoldering aftermath.) During a car chase, the guys hit a hanging pig that bursts open, sending blood spewing all over Stu. Alan falls off of a top bunk, landing on his face. Thinking Mr. Chow is dead, they lock him in an ice machine.

Crude or Profane Language

More than 100 f- and s-words mingle with "a‑‑," "d‑‑n," "h‑‑‑" and "b‑‑ch." God's and Jesus' names are each misused about 10 times, with God's being combined with "d‑‑n" a couple of times. The n-word is used a handful of times, as is vulgar and obscene slang for genitalia (including the c-word).

Drug and Alcohol Content

Stu and his pals start off with a glass of wine at dinner and sharing beers around a campfire on the beach. Everything spirals from there. Through brief flashbacks we see them partying drunkenly with scores of bottles of alcohol and mounds of cocaine. A snapshot shows Alan with his face covered with cocaine. Mr. Chow snorts a hit of coke and keels over, seemingly dead. It turns out that Alan laced a bag of marshmallows with muscle relaxants and his ADHD meds.

Alan relives a meditation-induced memory of the group's hard-drinking and coke-snorting night, only in his version he and his pals are all children.

Alan smokes a pipe. The monkey smokes a cigarette. Phil jokes about wanting a hit of laughing gas.

Other Negative Elements

Stu's soon-to-be father-in-law compares him to a developmentally disabled relative, then to a flavorless rice porridge. When in Stu's dentist office, Phil steals a prescription pad. At the wedding reception, Alan begins telling a story of Stu marrying a "whore" in Las Vegas.

Conclusion

The Hangover was 2009's highest-grossing R-rated comedy. It immediately spawned a score of copycats. And a sequel was inevitable.

In the Hollywood mindset it doesn't matter that Part II is, for all intents and purposes, a carbon copy of the previous film's debauchery-laced mess, with the same cast, premise and steaming pile of content. It doesn't matter that the flinch-worthy shocks of the first nasty flick were predictable then and are doubly so now. It doesn't matter that this is a pic that goes out of its way to avoid redeeming moments—unless you count the fact that no one actually defecates onscreen. Nor does it seem to matter that the viewing public is bit by bit becoming callused and, with repeated exposure, changed by this kind of subversive and morally vacuous pulp that somebody out there thinks of as humor.

We've said it before and it's time to say it again: There's really only one clear and universal truth concerning today's ongoing callithump of vulgar comedies. It's that the only "gross" Hollywood is concerned with is the one that streams in through the ticket windows.

Need evidence? The Hangover Part II's star Zach Galifianakis, who plays the movie's goofy man-child Alan, told comingsoon.net, "It is so bad in parts that I told my mom she is not allowed to see it. I forbid, forbade, forbid her from coming." But as Time's Joel Stein reports after talking with him, "When kids come up to [Galifianakis] and say how much they love The Hangover, he yells at their parents for letting them see it. In fact, he's not sure how he feels about adults' seeing the movie. After his mother watched the first Hangover, she voiced objections to the crass humor. 'I had to get on the phone with my mom and say, "I agree with you,"' he says. 'But at some point, as it did well at the box office, all that embarrassment flew out the window. As long as I can fly them all over the world, they don't care. I could be in porno.'"

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