In Brief, Skip It

“The Hangover Part II” contains a milestone of sorts — it is the first mainstream film I know to show a full-frontal nude shot of a transsexual.The movie has the same four knuckleheads as the first installment — relatively smooth Phil (Bradley Cooper), dorky dentist Stu (Ed Helms), straight-arrow Doug (Justin Bartha) — and appalling neurotic and pain in the neck Alan (Zach Galifianakis). This time they are headed to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. He has found a lovely Thai gal and everything’s going to be cool. The guys are going to behave themselves. They are going to have one beer apiece on the beach and then go to bed. In the first “Hangover” Alan doped the Jagermiester with Ectasy. This time he dopes the marshmallows because he has taken an inexplicable dislike to Stu’s future brother-in-law Teddy (Mason Lee), a teenage boy who is pre-med at Stanford. And true to Alan form, he has also arranged for their buddy from the Las Vegas misadventure, international criminal and deviant Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) to pick them up for a night of fun. So they wake up in a fleabag hotel in Bangkok with a monkey and no Teddy (but Teddy’s finger floating in a bowl of melting ice) and Mr. Chow, who becomes dead after taking a little cocaine to get his head together. And hilarity ensues. Actually it doesn’t. The first movie worked because it was completely and utterly tasteless, well-paced, and even slightly clever at times. And it was funny. This sequel screens as if the producers had cobbled together the gags that were deemed too idiotic for the first picture, tossed in the exotic locale and a little Mike Tyson for the finish, and ta-da! Instant summer boffo smash. There are three laughs in the film — one when the bride’s father compares Stu to a bland rice dish, one when Stu sings a parody of a Billy Joel song renamed “Alantown,” and one when a monk, enraged by the buffoons ignoring the monastery’s silence rule, beats them with a stout stick. Then there are the failed gags, in no particular order of ghastliness: simulated monkey fellatio; the always hilarious cocaine overdose; the consistently amusing alleyway shooting of the hero; the unspeakably funny facial tattoo applied to the dentist; the achingly witty and constant repetition of the phrase commonly abbreviated as “WTF”; the cigarette-smoking monkey ; the teenage boy who gets so intoxicated he takes part in a street riot and loses a finger; and, of course, the incredibly awkward interaction between the she-male and the dentist. The best actor in the film is Bartha, who cleverly arranged not to be in most of it. Sometimes a film is so bad it’s good. Sometimes a film is so out there it transcends its limitations. And sometimes a film is a shabby piece of work with nothing to recommend it unless you want to hear Mike Tyson try to sing. And that comes at the end — which means sitting through the rest. A “Must Avoid.” “The Hangover Part II” is rated R, obviously. It is playing at The Moviehouse in Millerton, NY, and elsewhere

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