Movie Mom

Movie Mom


In Defense of ‘Hangover 2′ (Spoiler Alert)

posted by Nell Minow

“Hangover 2″ got slammed by the critics, with only a 35 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  But I liked it.  I don’t usually comment on other critics’ reviews, but this time I think it is worth taking a moment because the very things that many critics didn’t like about the movie were the things I liked best.  Many critics complained that it was essentially a remake of the first, sticking closely to the same structure.  They saw that as a sign of lack of imagination or just cynical and lazy.  I thought it was very clever. In narrative terms, the repetition underscores an inevitability, almost a destiny for the characters that deepens the comedy with another layer.

Many critics thought the movie crossed the line from outrageous to offensive.  I had some problems with some of the material but overall I appreciated its willingness to go darker and more twisted than the first one.  I was less offended by the confident, beautiful trans stripper/hooker in the sequel than the idealized hooker/mom with a heart of gold in the first one.

Christopher Orr is one of my favorite critics — smart, knowledgable, funny, and a terrific writer.  I loved his review of  the “brutal hilarity” of “The Hangover 2.”  

Indeed, the comedy is not just black but noir–which is apt, given the formula to which Phillips has adhered so rigidly. The missing person, the seamy urban setting, the gradual accretion of clues: The Hangover films are, essentially, hard-boiled crime stories spun into comic depravity, heirs as surely to Hammett, Chandler, and Cain as they are to Apatow and the Farellys. This was central to the appeal of the first movie. Even as it found room for scenes with taser-happy schoolkids and Mike Tyson singing “In the Air Tonight,” there was an uncommon meticulousness to its structure: It succeeded not only as comedy but, in its way, as mystery.

I think that when characters like Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) or even Helms’ character in “Cedar Rapids” have some uncharacteristic acting out it should reveal something about their characters.  (I don’t think Alan’s behavior on drugs is very different from off drugs.)  It is fun to see how excruciating it can be for Phil and Ed to discover, slowly what they are capable of, but it is more satisfying to see them realize (even in a comedic way) that they need to integrate that with their notion of themselves.



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Darren Gersh

    Yeah, but I am still not sure noir comedy is my thing. That said, anything has to be better than the new Pirates movie.

    • Nell Minow

      Be sure to see “Midnight in Paris,” Darren — I think you’ll like it.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Regina Forsyth

    I really appreciate your willingness to look before the surface and see the real complexity of a movie that is being “blown off” by others.

    Life is complex and multi-layered. So the greatest art is going to be as well.

    Thank you,

    Regina

    • Nell Minow

      Thank you so much. That means the world to me, Regina.

Previous Posts

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary "Mentor"
Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, "Mentor," the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Woodstock Film Festival th

posted 3:56:57pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ApzHJhZz2JQ" frameborder="0"] The latest in Disney's animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity

posted 1:23:59pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Filmed as though it was almost entirely one long, stunning, audacious, breathless and breathtaking shot, "Birdman" (subtitled "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance") explodes with ideas and visions, adopting the language of dreams to explore and upend the very idea of storytelling. Michael Keaton p

posted 5:59:46pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

John Wick
This is a movie directed by two stunt men, which means it is pretty much a first-person shooter video game projected onto a movie screen. But that also means that it is directed by people wh

posted 5:44:02pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.