We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Is this some kind of a test? "The Hangover, Part II" plays like a challenge to the audience's capacity for raunchiness. It gets laughs, but some of them are in disbelief. As if making sure no one was not offended, it has a montage of still photos over the closing titles that include one cruel shot that director Todd Phillips should never, ever have used. The MPAA's elaboration of the film's R rating says the movie has "pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images." Also other stuff. Maybe their space was limited.
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. There's a wedding toast that deserves some sort of award for deliberate social embarrassment. And Alan (Zach Galifianakis), the character who stole much of the original 2009 film, walks off with a lot of this one, too.
If you saw that earlier film (which grossed $485 million, so you may have), there's not much need for me to describe the plot this time. It's the same story. Director Todd Phillips seems to have taken "The Hangover" screenplay and moved it laterally from Las Vegas to Bangkok while retaining the same sequence of scenes: Call to bewildered bride to be, flashback to wedding plans, ill-advised bachelor party, four friends waking up with terminal hangovers in unfamiliar hotel room, ominous signs of debauchery, desperate quest to discover what happened, etc.
As the film opens, a few years have passed. The dentist Stu (Ed Helms) is now the prospective groom. He's engaged to a beautiful Thai woman named Lauren (Jamie Chung). Her father (Nirut Sirichanya) is not happy. His son, Teddy (Mason Lee), is a brilliant 16-year-old pre-med student at Stanford, and the father tells Stu: "In this country, we do not consider a dentist a doctor." At a pre-wedding feast, he calmly and implacably offers a toast comparing Stu to a flavorless rice pudding.