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

What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines?
Michael Cieply has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the movie lines we love to quote and why there don't seem to be any new ones. Look through all of the top ten lists of the year, and see if you can think of one quotable line from any of them. That doesn't mean they aren't well wri

posted 3:58:57pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

George Clooney and the Cast of Downton Abbey
You don't have to be a fan of "Downton Abbey" (or "Mr. Selfridge") to love this hilarious spoof, with guest appearances by Jeremy Piven, George Clooney and the Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ryo7fqdmcGQ?rel=0" frameborder="0"] [

posted 1:43:50pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Ask Amy Says: A Book on Every Bed
I love to remind people about Amy Dickinson's wonderful "Book on Every Bed" proposal: Here’s how it happens: You take a book (it can be new or a favorite from your own childhood). You wrap it. On Christmas Eve (or whatever holiday you celebrate), you leave the book in a place where Santa is

posted 12:00:42pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Matthew Llewellyn, Composer for Wally Lamb's "Wishin' and Hopin'"
Wishin' and Hopin' is Lifetime movie airing December 21, 2014, based on the novel by Wally Lamb. It stars Molly Ringwald and Meat Loaf with narration by Chevy Chase. Composer Matthew Llewellyn was kind enough to answer my questions about creating a score for this nostalgic holiday story. How d

posted 9:40:56am Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Wild's Cheryl Strayed Has a New Advice Podcast
Before Wild, Cheryl Strayed was the pseudonymous "Dear Sugar" advice columnist for The Rumpus. Her columns were collected in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Writer Steve Almond (Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America) also wrote as Dear Su

posted 3:59:40pm Dec. 19, 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.