Quick Movie Review: The Hangover Part II (2011) & Bridesmaids (2011)

It’s weird to say this because I am a big Todd Phillips fan going back to Road Trip, ¬† Old School and Starsky & Hutch, but I don’t remember much about The Hangover. I gave it a glowing review, but, honestly, I couldn’t tell you much about the plot aside from the basics and the reveal of where Justin Bartha’s character wound up really being. As such, I wasn’t super excited about seeing the movie when it wound up being on a double bill with Bridesmaids at our local drive-in. I was however excited about the latter movie and the idea of actually seeing a new movie with our baby in tow (the whole thing worked out quite well, actually).

Anyway, I had a good time with The Hangover Part II. My initial impression from the trailers was that it was basically the same movie in a different setting and it kind of is for the most part, even down to the reveal of where the missing person is. But, you know what? Sometimes it’s just fun to watch characters (archetypes even) doing the things you expect of them in increasingly hilarious–and even action packed–ways. Also, the scenes with the drug dealing monkey made me lose my shit.

My only complaint was that I wish Bartha had gotten in on the action some more. The sequel didn’t have to be exactly set up like the original. I think he’s a lot of fun to watch on screen, but still hasn’t really gotten the chance to shine through. Maybe in the third one they’re talking about.

Side note, I think I could watch Bradley Cooper in just about anything. Dude’s CRAZY charming.

Much like H2, Bridesmaids exceeded my expectations, which is impressive because I was really excited about the flick. I mean, how can you not be intrigued by this poster? There’s a lot of hot funniness bubbling below the surface there. The thing that surprised me about this movie, though, is how misrepresnted it was by its own ad campaign and even the many talk show appearances I saw of various cast members (the missus has a jones for watching Good Morning America, The Rachel Ray Show and The View so I’m seeing all kinds of stuff I never saw before). Even when Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph straight up said it wasn’t like The Hangover-but-with-women they didn’t really seem to nail what the movie is about. See, here’s the plot, contains some plot SPOILERS. Wiig and Rudolph are best friends and have been forever. Rudolph gets engaged to a guy who’s got a great job. She’s been palling around with Rose Byrne’s character because she’s married to the hubby’s boss. So, basically, Rudolph’s gaining access to this more afluent life style and it’s creating a rift between her and Wiig. At the same time, Wiig’s life is in the crapper because her bakery failed, she lives with British freaks and she’s hooking up with Jon Hamm in a role so outwardly skeezy that he might actually be a descendant of Don Draper. Rudolph makes Wiig her maid of honor, but there’s immediately static between her and Byrne.

The trailers made it seem like the story then focused on that rivalry as well as the exploits of the other ‘maids (Melissa McCarthy as the sister-in-law, The Office‘s Ellie Kemper as the co-worker and Reno 911‘s Wendi McLendon-Covey as the cousin) but most of what you see in the ads came from the movie’s first half hour or so as the rest of the flick revolves around Wiig’s slow descent towards rock bottom and madness as tensions rise with Byrne, Rudolph and her ill-fated relationship Chris O’Dowd’s police officer (love that dude’s voice).

So, while it’s not this raucous lady Hangover, Bridesmaids still packs in the laughs–including some amazing gross-out stuff that I had heard about, but didn’t expect to be quite so funny or graphic–but more importantly really gets into the difficulties of friendship and keeping them strong as things in life change. It reminded me of some dude-based movies I’ve seen, but I can’t quite put my finger on which ones. I’m hoping that it’s success will lead to more funny lady comedies that aren’t afraid to have some balls.