The Hangover Part II
by Elaine Hegwood Bowen
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It’s a movie that visibly had only one Black in its cast but used the “n word” three or four times. At some point it isn’t funny anymore. I am speaking of The Hangover Part II, where the guys are once again trying to attend a buddy’s wedding—but this time they get stoned in Bangkok Thailand, as opposed to Vegas. At one time when they used the “n word,” the guy brushes it off calling it Hip-Hop. Then they play Pusher Man by the late Curtis Mayfield in the background, which was originally included on the Super Fly soundtrack and it refers to that “n****r” in the alley. So what does Hip-Hop or a song from Super Fly have to do with this movie? I’m not sure. Or maybe I am just too sensitive.
Oh well! The story goes Stu, the dentist, is engaged to an Asian girl whose parents live in Thailand. So they fly from California to have the wedding there. They start out with dinner with the relatives, where it’s obvious that the bride’s father doesn’t like Stu. The father doesn’t consider a dentist a real doctor. Then the boys, called the wolfpack, have a quiet campfire outside the resort but the next morning end up in Bangkok and find out that the 16-year-old brother of the bride is missing.
Alan is a self-proclaimed stay-at-home son and it’s later discovered that he sabotaged the campfire because he’s jealous of the young man named Teddy, who is an accomplished cellist and a Stanford graduate. The wolfpack reluctantly invited Alan to the wedding, because they know he has unique need, and he called Mr. Chow, their old nemesis from the first movie, to show them the nightlife. But the nightlife gets really dark for the crew and they try to once again put the pieces together, before having to call the bride and tell her what is really going on.
The wolfpack have to deal with a dead body, an unwanted tattoo, a missing monk, and sex with a girl-boy, who gladly shows the crew just what she used on them the night before. Mr. Chow even has a scene where he’s naked, after he claimed that the monkey pleasured him all night. Right, I forgot about the monkey named Crystal, who really stole the movie, along with Alan. I believe Alan, played by Zach Galifianakis, could have his own spin-off. Other wolfpack members are Bradley Cooper as Phil; Ed Helms as Stu and Justin Bartha as Doug.
Mike Tyson shows up in the end, and the wolfpack find their way back to the resort, so Stu can marry the woman of his dreams. So other than the gangster, the monkey, the dead body and the sprawling underbelly of Bangkok, The Hangover Part II is basically the same movie; just much darker. I don’t think it’s as funny as the first one, and some of the language and themes are a bit much. But I’ve been told before that this is just classic male comedy fodder.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.
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