A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, in attempting to surpass the original film, this R-rated comedy sequel is even cruder and more explicit than the first installment (i.e. full-frontal shots of pre-operative transgender characters). This time around, the three main characters wake up in Bangkok with no memory of what transpired the previous night, only to learn that their evening included drug deals, a severed finger, plenty of drugs and drinking, and a surprising encounter with strippers. All of this is punctuated with non-stop swearing, including tons of F-bombs.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Here we go again. On the eve of his wedding, Stu (Ed Helms) wakes up in a dingy hotel room in Bangkok, along with Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), all badly hung over. What transpired the night before? None of them can remember, but clearly it was over-the-top intense, with Stu’s new facial tattoo as a lovely memento. And, wait -- where's Stu’s soon-to-be teenage brother-in-law, Teddy (Mason Lee)? As they search for their missing pal, the gang tries to fill in the gaps in their memories.
Is it any good?
The genius of the first Hangover is that it shocked you into hilarity with its then-unparalleled raunch and insanity; so it’s no surprise that lightning can’t be bottled twice. This sequel pales so much in comparison that it's nearly transparent. You know a sequel's in trouble when it has to heavily reference -- no, patently copy -- its predecessor. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, please laugh.)
Nearly everything in the THE HANGOVER 2 has a specific parallel to what we saw in the first movie. There's no tiger, but there's a monkey. It’s not the same guy getting married, but there's a wedding -- and a missing member of the wedding party. And yes, the gang, who's all here, has yet another ridiculously wacky bachelor party. And once again, Stu wakes to find himself disfigured. Though the storyline has been transplanted overseas, it does nothing but advance the same tired jokes about Thailand. Is this the best the filmmakers can do? Thank goodness, then, for the cast’s chemistry, which is the film’s saving grace. Still, what a disappointment! This hangover badly needs a cure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the film's excessive depiction of wild partying. Is the film condoning or glorifying this kind of behavior?
Talk about the ritual of the bachelor party -- is it a chance for real bonding or simple immature excess?
What do you think about the characters’ loyalty to each other? Does the Wolfpack stick together?
- In theaters: May 26, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: December 6, 2011
- Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis
- Director: Todd Phillips
- Studio: Touchstone Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images