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Critical Mass: 'The Hangover Part II' gives the critics a headache

May 27, 2011 |  4:14 pm


The first "Hangover" was a surprise smash, an R-rated comedy that raked in more than $277 million at the domestic box office. So, a sequel was inevitable. And judging from the first day's box office, people are awaiting it with open arms.

But is it any good? That's another story.

Most are like Times critic Betsy Sharkey, accusing the film of existing purely as a crass cash-grab without any good comedy to justify itself. She writes, "Me, I'm left with morning-after regrets. Lost is the fresh, perverse, painfully politically incorrect R-rated pleasure that came when 'The Hangover' ate up the summer of 2009."

Leonard Maltin disliked the film as well, but he's been around too long to exert much effort bashing it. This is one of those critic-proof movies. "In a more perfect world, customers who feel burned by second- and third-rate sequels would be wary the next time a number 2, 3, or 4 came to their neighborhood multiplex. But you know what Barnum said...."

Manohla Dargis earns her New York Times paycheck by going a little "Da Vinci Code" on the film: "If you superimposed a diagram that mapped out all the narrative beats, characters and jokes in 'The Hangover Part II' over one for 'The Hangover,' the two would align almost perfectly."

Roger Ebert's two-star review gives the film credit for having a few laughs (mostly because of Zach Galifianakis), but Ebert takes offense at one photograph, seen during the film's closing credits. Like the first one, "The Hangover Part II" saves the final revelations of the boys' wild night out for a montage at the end. "It's not that I was shocked. This is a raunch fest, yes, but not an offense against humanity (except for that photo, which is a desecration of one of the two most famous photos to come out of the Vietnam War). The movie has its share of laughs."

"The Hangover Part II" does have its defenders, and not just in the quote machines and junketeers that you'd normally expect to like the film. Critic Christopher Orr, at that bastion of highbrow reportage and opinion the Atlantic, is a fan. He writes, "Despite its slavish fidelity to the structure of its predecessor, Phillips's sequel manages to take each plot twist and twist it further.... It's a testament to the strength of that model, though, that despite its derivative nature and other shortcomings, 'The Hangover Part II' is brutally funny. Again."

Critic Ben Mankiewicz, host from another bastion, this time of "good cinema," Turner Classic Movies, is also a fan. He defends the movie in his review on Huffington Post, acknowledging its critical drubbing while pointing out the bright spots that actually make the film work (in his opinion). "As for the rest of the movie, eh, not so much, but hardly a disaster. Think of it as a decent high school football player who suffers from having an older brother who was all-state two years earlier."

Did you see "The Hangover Part II"? Did you find it to be a wild night out or reason for next-day regrets?


Photos: 'The Hangover Part II' premiere

Warner Bros. has high hopes for 'The Hangover Part II'

Memorial Day weekend box office to soar with 'The Hangover Part II' and 'Kung Fu Panda 2'

--Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Bradley Cooper stars in "The Hangover Part II." Credit: Warner Bros.

Comments () | Archives (27)

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The movie stinks - don't go see it. The director and writer should have to refund the price of the ticket for anyone that sat through this movie.

Have not seen movie yet but loved the first one. May have to ask around or wait for more reviews from real people and not film critics who usually have their heads up their you know where.

If you're going to take a shot at another publication's 'highbrow reportage', you should probably take the time to at make sure the same sentence doesn't make you look like a complete tool. What, the spell-checker was on a lunch break?

The movie had a few good laughts but I didn't like it because it was to predictable the plot was to much like the first one I was expecting to see something different not hangover 1 again.

Well good thing all the maney it has made and or is going 2 make ain't based from 2 reviews....its a damn good movie. And hello the plot is going 2 be predictable if u seen te 1st 1. No kidding.....

***money*** had 2 fix tht

people deserve the suffering they endure from watching sequels. despite the heroic attempts of critics, apparently nothing can educate people who think that a sequel is guaranteed to emulate all the qualities of the original; that somehow films happen because people point a camera at "those actors they like so much" and the hilarity unfolds naturally; and that assigning the same actors to the same characters will seamlessly continue the story exactly the way you'd hope going back to sleep will continue a dream. these film makers should be given medals for making these idiots poorer and less happy, not only giving them the punishment their hubris deserves but also making them statistically slightly less likely to reproduce - automatically limiting the problem over the next few hundred years - and supporting the creative industries in the meantime

the movie is way too unrealistic,cartoonish.its a scene by scene copy of the first movie except in this one instead of humor they just talk very casually but lodly with no punch-lines in sight.

This movie was frickin hilarious...very predictable, but hilarious. It was also kinda gross and some of the plot didnt make sense but at the end it all came together. Would I see it again, yea at the redbox, but I wouldnt pay to see it anymore... Hangover 3 is next....who gettin married now???

Why would I see this?

This movie was garbage and a waste of time.

Saw it, its the funniest movie I have seen in years ! Fantastic ! cant wait till the next one !!

The people choose which movies are good not the critics. Half of the critics are career critics who just love movies the way they like them. Sorry times have changed. Hangover 2 was a really funny movie. Maybe they should just hold public polls on movies instead of critics always bashing a movie because they don't like it. Plus #Bangkok has you now.

I saw this last night with about 6 other guys. I was surprised that the theater wasn't packed, it was at least half empty. The film itself was almost as funny as it's original, however the characters have not changed at all and still don't during this entire film, with the exception of one during the last 7 minutes to complete the formula. Like the first, the appeal of the film is still based around Galifianakis' psychotic manchild act, which works pretty well with Todd Phillips as director. The other three of the wolfpack still have the energy to lend themselves as the 30something frat boys, which every man wants to be, deep down inside. Plus, there's a monkey and transvestites.
If you liked The Hangover, you'll probably like Part II. But don't expect anything new, it's really just a continuation of the same people, same antics, with a different setting.

Just tell me if we get to Zach's butt or in underwear again? That's reason enough for me to see it.

To the author, I dont know why I read this, all you really did was talk about other critics reviews and didnt say anything about your own opinion. Thats not real reviewing or reporting or anything. If I wanted to hear their opinion I would have asked them, a couple of them in person.

Anyways, to everyone else reading this I havent seen the movie yet but judging from what I've heard and what the trailers show it looks alot like the first movie, almost exactly. Same jokes, this time its not a baby they get its a monkey, instead of knocked out tooth theres a tattoo, and yes the Jonas Brothers joke is brought back again. But in the end I know Ill go watch it and get some good laughs. Were the three best friends that anyone could ever have, and well never ever ever ever leave each other.

Check out www.moviepredator.com to catch reviews of some of the latest movie releases and upcoming news.

It seems odd to me that few if any of the critics have actually critiqued this movie as a stand alone film. All have compared it to the first and given little objective analysis. True it is a sequel. But can any of them pretend that there are people who haven't seen the first one? Would those people enjoy the sequel?

The hangover part 2 is the second biggest dissapointmenr in my life

You can check out my review of The Hangover Part II here http://www.articlesbase.com/movies-articles/hangover-part-ii-review-4823516.html

This film was as good if not better then hangover 1. I also read critics posts because the bad reviews they give for a movie the more I want to see the movie.

The Hangover II was pretty much like the first one, which was hilarious.

This movie is a train wreck, don't go! Truly painful to watch, my mistake.

I really enjoyed it. Yeah, it's somewhat of a retread, but the funny parts were hysterical. A bit slow in some areas, but overall a movie I would recommend. One of the few movies I have seen where the people in the theater just laughed and laughed.

Good, movie as long as you realize it will not be as good as the first. Most sequels never are.

WE saw the movie opening night. Although it was funny and the theater audiace was laughing quit a bit. We think it could have been just as good with out all the vulgarity. To much nudity it looked as it was for effect not story, to much "F" word, again for effect not story. Good atempt at a sequal but only a "C" grade.

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