The Hangover Part II

Warner Brothers

Rated R for brief violence, full-frontal nudity, pervasive profanity, drug use and graphic sexuality.

 

The Boys Are Back for Bawdier Bachelor Party in Bangkok

When we first encountered the self-proclaimed Wolf Pack a couple of years ago, the four buddies were secretly driving across the desert by convertible to throw Doug (Justin Bartha) a bachelor party in Las Vegas. However, they got far more than they bargained for when they awakened in a totally trashed hotel room the following morning, not only missing the groom but also unable to recall what had transpired during their ostensibly wanton night of debauchery.

With just hours until the wedding, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) began frantically retracing their steps to determine Doug’s whereabouts without alarming his fiancée, Tracy (Sasha Barrese), who was waiting impatiently at the altar back in Los Angeles. Ultimately, they did find their pal right in the nick of time for him to tie the knot, but only after embarking on an unbelievably wacky series of misadventures.

In The Hangover Part II it’s dentist Stu’s turn to get married, but because his bride, Lauren (Jamie Chung), is from Thailand, that’s where they’re planning to exchange their vows. So, the Wolf Pack reunites in that exotic locale for what proves to be an even bawdier bachelor party in the city of Bangkok.

Again, directed by Todd Phillips, the sequel slavishly resurrects the original’s storyline almost to a fault, as if the new scriptwriters were afraid to tinker with a winning formula. Consequently, it’s not exactly a surprise this go-round when the guys somehow end up with amnesia after sneaking off to partake in a pre-marital, male-bonding ritual.

The plot has been tweaked slightly to have the bride’s teenage brother, Teddy (Mason Lee), disappear into thin air instead of the groom. And somehow, Doug also gets separated from the others, leaving it again up to Phil, Stu and Alan to search for the kid in a frenetic race against time. Along the way, they even cross paths with some of the same colorful characters they encountered in Vegas, such as Mike Tyson and the shady con man Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong).

Upping the ante in terms of shock value, the film trades in its trademark tasteless humor ranging from Stu’s being raped by a pre-op transsexual (Yasmin Lee) to a miniature primate simulating fellatio on a Buddhist monk (Aroon Seeboonruang) on a bus. The latter tableau inspires terminally inappropriate Alan to deliver the flick’s most memorable line: “When a monkey nibbles on a penis, it’s funny in any language.”

When all is said and done, Hangover 2 triggers fewer belly laughs-per-minute than the original, yet it nevertheless generates more than enough yucks to satisfy fans of the gross-out genre. Just remember to check your brain at the box office as you enter the theater because, “What happens in Thailand, stays in Thailand!”

Very Good (3 stars).

Running time: 102 Minutes.

 

 

Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Walt Disney Pictures

Rated PG-13 for violence and intense action-adventure sequences.

 

Captain Jack Is Back for Voyage in Search of the Fountain of Youth

Pirates Of The Caribbean has proven to be an enduring, review-proof franchise, thanks to the derring-do and roguish charm of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and the way in which his swashbuckling adventures manage to capture the imagination of ‘tweeners. On Stranger Tides, the fourth installment in the popular series, does not disappoint in this regard, as it again immerses the peripatetic protagonist in the sort of special effects-driven, seafaring saga the kids in that target demographic relish.

This episode opens in a London courtroom, where we find Jack hatching an elaborate plan to save his loyal First Mate, Gibbs (Kevin McNally), from the hangman’s noose. After a daring jailbreak, however, the pair are apprehended and dragged before King George II (Richard Griffiths) who spares their lives on the condition that they participate in an expedition to find the fabled Fountain of Youth for England before explorer Ponce de Leon can do so for Spain.

The hitch is that since Jack’s ship, the Black Pearl, was lost at sea, he will have to set sail on the HMS Providence, a privateer frigate under the command of his archenemy, Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). Rather than suffer such an indignity, Jack mounts another escape, only to end up in league with the legendary Blackbeard (Ian McShane) aboard Queen Anne’s Revenge after falling under the spell of the ruthless outlaw’s daughter, Angelica (Penelope Cruz).

At this juncture, On Stranger Tides morphs into a cutthroat competition pitting Barbossa and Blackbeard’s vessels against each other in a race for the aforementioned Fountain of Youth. En route, the participants must deal with a host of ordeals ranging from seductive mermaids to magical chalices, distractions rather reminiscent of the tests of Ulysses in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey.

Of course, jaunty Jack prevails in the end, just be sure to sit through the closing credits for a hint about what to expect from the next sequel.

Very Good (3 stars).

Running time: 137 Minutes.

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules:

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

 

For movies opening May 27, 2011

 

 

BIG BUDGET FILMS

 

Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG for mild violence and martial arts sequences). Animated 3-D sequel finds Master Po (Jack Black) teaming with the Furious Five (Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan and David Cross) kung fu legends to defend the Valley of Peace from a diabolical albino peacock (Gary Oldman) armed with a secret weapon. Voice cast includes Dustin Hoffman, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Haysbert, Michelle Yeoh and James Hong.

 

Hello Lonseome (Unrated). Ensemble drama examining the diverging fates of a trio of unlikely couples: a just-dumped voiceover actor (Harry Chase) befriended by a cynical delivery man (Kamel Boutros); an elderly widow (Lynn Cohen) who finds comfort in the arms of her young next-door neighbor (James Urbaniak) after becoming stuck in the suburbs when she loses her driver’s license; and a sports fan (Nate Smith) who falls in love with a woman (Sabrina Lloyd) he meets online after what was just supposed to be a one-night stand.

 

Puzzle (Unrated). Argentinean drama about a bored housewife (Maria Onetto) who unexpectedly develops a new zest for life upon solving the puzzle she receives as a 50th birthday present. With Gabriel Goity, Arturo Goetz and Henny Trayles. (In Spanish with subtitles)

 

Spork (Unrated). Bit-punk musical comedy starring Savannah Stehlin in the title role as an ostracized junior high student mercilessly teased by mean girls who tries to improve her social standing by entering a school dance competition. With Sydney Park, Rachel G. Fox, Michael William Arnold and Halston Autumn McMurray.

 

Tied To A Chair (Unrated). Screwball comedy about a miserable housewife (Bonnie Loren) who leaves her husband (Richard Franklin) of 25 years to resume the acting career she gave up to marry him. The plot thickens at her first audition when she’s left bound to a chair in a hotel room by a kinky cult film director (Mario Van Peebles) who subsequently turns up dead. With Robert Gossett, Kim Cristo and Daniel Farag.

 

The Tree Of Life (PG-13 for mature themes). Impressionistic meditation on the meaning of life, set in the ‘50s, as contemplated by a sensitive soul (Sean Penn) who hasn’t been the same since losing his innocence at the age of 11. Directed by Terrence Malick and co-starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Kari Matchett and Joanna Going.

 

Tuesday, After Christmas (Unrated). Midlife crisis drama about a jaded banker (Mimi Branescu) forced to pick between his marriage and his mistress by Christmas after confessing to his boring wife of 10 years (Mirela Oprisor) that he’s been carrying on a primal affair with their daughter’s (Sasa Paul-Szel) orthodontist (Maria Popistasu) for the past five months. (In Romanian with subtitles.)

 

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