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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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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REVIEW: Get Him to the Greek

Get Him to the Greek
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Written by: Nicholas Stoller & Jason Segel (screenplay)
Starring: Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Elisabeth Moss, and Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs

A spin-off is a notoriously bad idea when you’re looking for quality.  You get fast cash opening weekend, and then you sink like the Titanic when people realize what you’re selling is crap.  Thankfully, this is not the case with Get Him to the Greek.

What’s great about this movie is not just its perfectly paired comic dream duo (Russell Brand and Jonah Hill), but that it only references Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the “original,” in one obligatory millisecond.  Other than that, it’s allowed to stand on its own comic footing with the funniest character from Sarah Marshall, cocky coke addict Aldous Snow.

Brand became a star partially because of this then-supporting role.  He combined his expert comedic delivery with great material very, very well.  Here he gets to shine even brighter, pulling out all the stops and even finding a soul in a modern comedy character.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say brilliant, but it’s a nice surprise.

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