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.

Quick Movie Review: Dinner For Schmucks (2010)

If you’re the kind of Office fan who watches and says to themselves “Man, this is great, but I wish Michael was MORE awkward,’ then Dinner For Schmucks is the movie for you. If not? Well, it will probably wind up being an okay, sometimes funny movie that you won’t remember much of the next day. I really wanted to like this flick because I’m a fan of Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Zach Galifianakis but the film just didn’t do it for me. Here’s the deal, Rudd’s trying to get a promotion in his company, he’s gotten the attention of the boss (played perfectly by Bruce Greenwood, that guy’s great) which garnered an invitation to a dinner he holds where everyone has to bring an idiot. Whoever brings the biggest idiot wins a prize. Rudd’s a little conflicted about going mostly because of his girlfriend, but then he literally runs into Carell who has a penchant taking dead mice and putting them into dioramas as you can see in the above poster. You’d assume with that kind of set-up that you’re going to spend most of your time at the dinner enjoying the weirdness of everyone’s guests, but instead, Carell shows up for the dinner at Rudd’s place a night early and starts causing trouble for him.

If you listen to the Mallrats commentary with Kevin Smith like I have (lots of times), you’ll hear him talk about early versions of the movie that took half an hour to get the guys to the mall. The lesson being, if you’re going to call the movie Mallrats get to the mall pretty quickly. I kept thinking about this while watching Schmucks because it takes FOREVER to get to the actual dinner. In the meantime, you see Rudd’s problems with his girlfriend, trouble with a former one night stand, worry that his girlfriend’s cheating on him with a douchey artist and the introduction of Carell’s nemesis Galifianakis who is really weird, even for one of his usual characters. In addition to all that, the movie never really grabbed me and I just didn’t care about anything going on. There were a few good laughs here and there, but overall the movie was kind of boring, didn’t live up to its titular promise and wound up being too long at 114 minutes (I’m a strong believer that comedy should be a tight 90 minutes). Really glad I didn’t spend money on seeing this one in the theater.

I Am So Psyched For The Hangover

For me, the current wave of awesome comedy flicks didn’t start with Judd Apatow (though much respect him as he’s done most of the heavy lifting). No, comedy started getting awesome for me again (like the previous golden age thanks to the National Lampoon/SNL/SCTV folks in the late 70s and early 80s that I grew up on) in 2003 with the release of Old School, which I’ve talked about before.

Well, Todd Phillips, the mastermind behind Old School, along with Road Trip (2000), Starsky & Hutch (2004) and School for Scoundrels (2006) which I didn’t love, has a new movie coming out soon called The Hangover about three dudes (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis) who wake up Dude Where’s My Car-style in Vegas missing the their buddy the groom. You know what else it has? Mike Tyson and Phil Collins together! (kinda). I laughed so hard the very first time I saw the first trailer, I almost couldn’t stop. i then showed it to everyone int he office and laughed as much every time. It’s the one with Tyson punching a dude, amazing. Well, I’m so enthused about this flick I thought I’d provide you with every trailer I could find with a basic search on YouTube. Enjoy!

Haha, of course, I write this whole thing only to find that most of the trailers on YouTube have had embedding turned off. Well, here’s the one I could find, check for links below.

I

Can’t

Wait!