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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

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The Hangover 2 Offers No Surprises By Alex Campos EL VAQUERO STAFF WRITER

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angkok has them now. Director Todd Phillips (“Due Date,” “Old School”) followed up his most successful movie, “The Hangover” with a formulaic sequel with a fitting title: “The Hangover Part 2.” The film is focused around the marriage of Stu Price, played by Ed Helms (“The Office,” “The Daily Show with John Stewart”). After the events of the first “Hangover” movie, Stu just wants a bachelor brunch with his two best friends. Phil Wenneck, played by Bradley Cooper (“The A-Team,” “Limitless”) and Doug Billings, played by Justin Bartha (“National Treasure,” “Failure to Launch”) talk him into having a celebration before his wedding in Thailand. Allen Garner, played by Zach Galifianakis (“Due Date,” “Up in the Air”), eventually gets his invitation to the wedding, and is upset when Stu’s brother-in-lawto-be joins the gang for the trip. After a beer on the beach, Stu, Phil and Allen wake up with no recollection of the events from last night. The plot focuses on the guys trying to figure out what

happened the night before. This movie is absolutely hilarious, mostly due to Allen’s cluelessness. Everything Allen says is comical, either due to the actual line or the way Galifianakis says it. Galifianakis has a charm about him that makes saying “Ooh a monkey” a memorable line. If this movie were the first in the series, it would be an instant cult classic, much like the first “Hangover” movie. Unfortunately for this movie, it fails to bring anything new to the table. This movie is painfully formulaic and seems to just follow suit of the first movie. There were a few direct references to the first film in this one, and the rest of the film just seems like an exact copy of the first with a little added raunchiness, including more nudity. This film also lacks the surprise element that made the first one so great. Most of the outrageous, hilarious scenes are shown in the trailer, including the monkey and Stu’s, now controversial, Mike Tyson face tattoo. Recurring characters like Leslie Chow, played by Ken Jeong (“Knocked Up,” “Role Models”) and Mike Tyson and add humor to the movie, but also add onto

ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK: The Hangover Part 2 doesn’t break any new ground and isn’t likely to be nominated for an Oscar, but it’s still an enjoyable movie to watch with friends. the lack of originality. Rumored cameos by Bill Clinton and Mel Gibson would have added nicely to this film. They did not appear. Although seeing how the drunks’ night in Thailand went down is a hilarious ride through strip clubs, monasteries and tattoo parlors, this film fails to live up to the first one. It is still a decent film and should be seen with friends, NOT PARENTS. Overall, this is a good movie

for what it is. None of the actors are going to be winning Oscar’s for their roles, and this movie doesn’t use groundbreaking camerawork. It continues Phillips’ legacy of top notch comedy movies, and keeps the “Hangover” franchise going strong, with rumors of a third movie in the making. The upped raunchiness that comes with a trip to Thailand adds to the hilarity of the movie. The parallels between this film and

the first one keep it from being an instant classic. It doesn’t hold up to the first “Hangover,” but standing alone, it is a great young adult comedy that deserves it’s high box office success. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 Alex Campos can be reached at Alex_Campos@elvaq.com

Mighty ‘Thor’ May Be a Bore to Audiences By Derek Stowe EL VAQUERO STAFF WRITER

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f you liked the 2008 films “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk,” then Marvel Entertainment’s 2011 release of “Thor,” the hammer-wielding god of thunder and fertility, may be a must-see. “Thor,” except for the rare quip, is directed with excessive seriousness by Kenneth Branagh (“Henry V,” 1989), and stars Chris Hemsworth (“Star Trek,” 2009), Anthony Hopkins (“Silence of the Lambs,” 1991), and Natalie Portman (“Black Swan,” 2010). “Does he need CPR? Because I totally know how to give that,” says Portman’s teen sidekick Darcy Lewis, played by Kat

Dennings (“40-Year-Old Virgin,” 2005). Darcy has just laid eyes on the “totally cut” Hemsworth, whom they have struck with their jeep. But the latest heart-throb to grace the silver screen wakes up more eager to hold everyone in a headlock than to verbalize: Thor has nothing much to say. Unless you can get past the implausibility of an Aryan superhero swinging a hammer fast enough to produce a tornado and then travel through a “Bifröst” worm-hole to a different realm of the universe, then this movie is NOT for you. Every 10-year-old dreams of a hammer that could do all that Thor’s can, but why would an adult movie-goer want to see a

comic-book character film rated PG-13? Certainly not merely for a glimpse of Best Actress Oscarwinner Natalie Portman and how she falls for the nauseatingly handsome, Australian-born soap star Hemsworth. That is, unless it’s family night. What looks like a worthwhile action-adventure-blockbuster in previews, is a far cry from being an epic. Thor and his sinister brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston (The Gathering Storm,” 2002), are raised by Norse god Odin, played by Hopkins, and his goddess-wife Frigga, played by Rene Russo (“Tin Cup,” 1996). Branagh should know better than to wangle a war based on the death of a few guards at a castle.

MANUAL LABOR: The god of thunder gets a taste of the human experience in “Thor.”

When Thor goes against Odin’s edict and with a small team

unilaterally seeks out revenge [See Thor, page 13]


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