REVIEW: The Hangover Part III

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The Hangover Part III
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Written by: Todd Phillips & Craig Mazin (screenplay), Jon Lucas & Scott Moore (characters)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong

Is there any point in trying to look at The Hangover Part III as anything but a petulant piece of filth?  Of course the answer is no, but in a franchise built on uncompromising filth, that isn’t necessarily all bad.  Make no mistake, though: this is a very bad movie.  The story abandons the “What did we do last night?!” set up of the first two installments, and apparently can’t survive without it.

There are scenes of abduction and violence conducted with small crowds of people looking on in the background of the shots.  Several characters are shot and killed and the every men at the center of the story are hardly affected.  And yet, there is a kind of demented charm to this final installment as we get a sense that director Todd Phillips is almost daring us to try and make sense of a series built on sacrificing coherence for gross-out.  With the aid of his three main stars, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis, and a slew of others, he has created a movie that exists as a series of gags barely connected by anything other than familiar faces.

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REVIEW: Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Directed by: Mark Duplass & Jay Duplass
Written by: Mark Duplass & Jay Duplass (screenplay)
Starring: Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon and Judy Greer

Home is not a place.  It is a state of mind; that feeling of comfort, security and belonging.  For many, clinging to an idea of home is one of the driving forces of their day-to-day lives.  In Jeff, Who Lives at Home, the Duplass Brothers examine this notion with a light touch and a heavy injection of fate.

If home occupies the film’s title, destiny is its true focus.  The three main characters- brothers Jeff (Jason Segel) and Pat (Ed Helms) and their mother Sharon (Susan Sarandon)- are all clumsily shoved into each other with narrative push.  This would be completely amateurish if it weren’t for the focus on fate at the movie’s core.  The movie takes Jeff’s point of view even when he’s not there, pushing his bizarre world view into a reality that isn’t quite made for it.

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REVIEW: The Hangover Part II

The Hangover Part II
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Written by: Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong, & Todd Phillips (screenplay)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha

I swear I wrote this review a few days ago, but here goes nothing.  The Wolf Pack packs up for another wedding, this time Stu’s (Ed Helms), and go on another drunken rage, this time in Bangkok, Thailand.

If you thought their masculinity was under fire in the first installment, wait until you get a whiff of transvestite prostitutes and staff wielding monks.  They are strangers in a strange land, and xenophobia set in long before the plane landed.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: The Hangover

The Hangover
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Written by: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore (screenplay)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha

When you’re watching comedy, it’s interesting to pause for a moment and examine why a joke was intended to be funny.  What is the target of the joke, and who is it aimed at?  In mainstream Hollywood’s comedy, more often than not, you’ll find that answer to be pretty simple: masculinity is the target, and men are obviously the intended recipients as well as the writers, directors, and stars.

Rarely has this been more apparent than in Todd Phillips’ The Hangover, a runaway box office success and a raunchy male fantasy with a nasty aftertaste.  It takes that guy party in Vegas idea that zips through many films (Knocked Up is a recent example) and instead of devoting maybe 15 or so minutes, builds an entire movie out of it.

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