10 June 2011

The Hangover Part II

Directed by: Todd Phillips
Written by: Craig Mazin, Scott Armstrong & Todd Phillips

The most relieving thing about this sequel is that it's not so aligned with Phil (Bradley Cooper)'s point of view. And so even though it has liberal critic-baiting jokes about the size of Asian titties (and child prostitution), I felt pretty indifferent about The Hangover Part II. Must be because even the movie is so indifferent. Its most galling feature must be its nihilism: it's so careful to play both sides of everything. A cello recital is unimpeachably beautiful, but you can also laugh at Zach Galifianakis' thumbs-down review; Buddhist temples are gorgeous, but they're also full of hilariously violent kung-fu monks ("buncha bald assholes"); Thailand is too disgusting for the guys to drink anything but American beer, but "this place is also really paradise"; Chow (Ken Jeong) says "nigga" (funny!), someone calls him a racist (oh, right!).

The characters have a professed respect for intelligence, talent, racial differences and religion—when Alan confesses a lie, Phil is incredulous: "Alan! You swore to god!"—that they don't actually live. It's a conflict between the pussies (represented by Stu) and the badasses (represented by Phil). (Alan is also coded feminine: he calls Doug at night and hangs up, he's always crying.) But the moral of the story is that both sensibilities are equally important, thus the Tyson tattoo on Stu's face, an almost-clever visual representation of this duality (think Two-Face). Really, The Hangover Part II is a centrist story of interdependence—bipartisanship, dare I say? Or, an illustration of the complementary natures of femininity and masculinity. Maybe that's why the movie is so repulsed by homosexuality (accusing someone of it is considered a great insult, as when Alan tells a 16-year-old pre-med student that Doogie Howser grew up to be gay; actually engaging in it is almost enough to make somebody suicidal): because the movie has no faith in man alone. Could there be something pro-woman about this movie after all?

Keep reading my conversation with Benjamin Sutton at The L Magazine

Watch the trailer:

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