First “Hangover Part II” review misses the point

By Sean O’Connell The embargo appears to have been lifted regarding “The Hangover Part II,” now that the trades have weighed in.

While I don’t have a full review prepared, it’s safe to tell you that Todd Phillips’ follow-up to his incredibly successful R-rated comedy stays loyal to the formula established in the first, but the location shift from Las Vegas to Bangkok allows Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to encounter some very dark and completely twisted obstacles in their hungover state. The “Hangover” sequel is demented in all of the places that the original was zany … and every time it turned down a darker alley, I grew to appreciate the film’s courage more and more.

Which is why Michael Rechtshaffen’s use of the word “milder” when describing Phillips’ sequel in his THR review puzzled me. This sequel isn’t milder by any stretch. It appears the THR critic was seeking Vegas-lite fun, but Phillips and crew weren’t interested in delivering that. And I commend them. While interviewing Bradley Cooper for the sequel, we talked about their audience’s tolerance for shock comedy. I think it’s going to be tested by this familiar but brave sequel.

The THR review is the first of what’s bound to be many reviews hitting the wire as we approach “The Hangover Part II’s” release date on May 26.

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