Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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.”  

Advertisement

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

Contest: Reading Rainbow DVD -- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Levar Burton and Reading Rainbow present four classic episodes on this new DVD from PBS Kids. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie read by Beth Howland, ...

posted 3:49:25pm May. 29, 2015 | read full post »

The New Yorker's Actress Profiles: Tilda Swinton, Angela Bassett, Katharine Hepburn, and More
The New Yorker has created a section with some of its best profiles of actresses, including Angela Bassett, Julia Roberts, Diane Keaton, Tilda Swinton, and Katharine Hepburn. They are a treat to read and will inspire you to check out or revisit ...

posted 8:00:38am May. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Wish You Well
[jwvideo vid='sTOlso40' pid='GvkPWNBE'] Ellen Burstyn, Mackenzie Foy, and Josh Lucas star in Wish You Well, a coming-of-age tale based on the best-selling novel by David Baldacci, who also wrote the screenplay. Foy plays 12-year-old Louisa, ...

posted 10:24:09pm May. 28, 2015 | read full post »

San Andreas
Another summer blockbuster-by-the-numbers, another dad who needs redemption and re-connection with his family, and the only way he can get ...

posted 5:55:26pm May. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Aloha
Writer/director Cameron Crowe presents us with an attractive and talented but messy and compromised hero in "Aloha," and asks us to root ...

posted 5:37:27pm May. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.