It’s widely understood that men are little boys who constantly behave badly and get into trouble. Women stand by and judge, often bailing the men out of trouble. Women, of course, are the grownups of the world, while men are too immature to be left alone without female supervision.
That’s crap. Women can get into just as much trouble as men, and in fact, can behave in an equally self-destructive fashion.
In this SmackDown! it’s the boys against a girl in sequel comedies that whisk us away on ill-advised trips to Thailand. The Hangover Part II takes on Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in an attempt to determine which sex is the stupidest.
Can the Wolf Pack take on a lone she-wolf and come out the victorious fools?
The boys are back for another pre-nuptial blackout adventure in The Hangover Part II. This time, the groom is Stu (Ed Helms), and the location is exotic Thailand. Wisely rejecting a bachelor party for fear of a repeat of Doug’s (Justin Bartha) wedding nightmare, Stu agrees to have a single beer by the campfire with Doug and Phil (Bradley Cooper) before turning in for the night. Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is back with them, creepy and dysfunctional as ever, and he’s not at all happy about the addition to the group of Teddy (Mason Lee), the 16-year old brother of the bride.
Despite precautions, the Wolf Pack wakes up in a seedy hotel room in Bangkok, with the previous night’s adventures a complete mystery and Teddy missing. A monkey in a denim vest, the Russian mob, a partially-transgender prostitute, and a crazy tattoo artist are all stops in the reconstruction of the missing night. As in the first installment, the upcoming wedding and a missing member of the wedding party are the ticking clocks driving the manic marathon forward.
The Defending Champion
Self-destructive Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) returns in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, with a new director, Beeban Kidron, at the helm. Having ridden off into the sunset with her true love, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), Bridget finds that catching the man of her dreams is only half of it; she has to keep him, too. After six blissful weeks, Bridget’s insecurities resurface, causing her no end of difficulties.
Also returning is ex-shag, bad boy Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), now invading Bridget’s place of work and further complicating her life and her decisions. She takes us through an awkward family luncheon, an embarrassing dinner party, and a stint in a Thai prison before realizing she just may be her own worst enemy.
The Hangover Part II spent most of its time in Thailand, and we got a good feel for the seedy side of Bangkok, as well as the touristy beach-resort areas. Bridget Jones didn’t quite accomplish this. To be fair, a smaller portion of it took place in Thailand, but none of the scenes felt like they were shot anywhere in particular. Even the Thai marketplace could have easily been a set on a soundstage. There was one shot, especially, of people on the streets and a man on an elephant, which looked identical, shot for shot, to footage used in The Hangover Part II. If they did use the same footage, it could be argued that Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason used it first, but The Hangover Part II had enough to back it up to make using stock footage acceptable. In Bridget Jones, it seemed slapped on in an effort to convince us they’d gone somewhere they’d never been.
Each film had some uneven plot points. I found The Hangover Part II to be a little unsatisfying at the end. Todd Phillips returned to direct, and he made the call to go with the formula that worked the first time. For the most part, that was a good decision; the tension and crude humor were consistent. However, some of the problems the guys encountered (no spoilers) which should have had repercussions after the fact, seemed to melt away in importance at the end for the sake of a tidy wrap up. Life-altering things happened and were smoothed over with an “aw shucks” attitude I had trouble swallowing.
Still, that’s minor compared to some of the unbelievable character motivations in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Clumsy, yet lovable in the first movie, Bridget’s character seemed too over the top, and Mark’s passivity left him looking like a bland paper doll with no personality. I actually found myself hoping she’d end up with Daniel this time, since he was at least interesting, though I couldn’t see anything in Bridget’s insecure mess that would make any man want to be with her. As a side note, Zellweger’s British accent was so weird, I kept picturing her in a pith helmet hunting rhino in deepest, darkest Africa.
Both movies had their humorous moments. The Wolf Pack dug themselves a deep hole to climb out of, and the slapstick craziness was worth several chuckles. Galifianakas and Ken Jeong (returning as Chow) drove the comedy forward, while the rest of the cast was mostly along for the ride as the straight men. And the monkey, of course. Monkeys are always funny. Still, I didn’t walk out of the theater with sore ribs from sidesplitting laughs. It was amusing, but not hilarious. Jeong’s flaccid penis isn’t nearly as funny as they had hoped it would be. It was just a little sad.
Bridget had a few good one-liners that made me snicker, but here, too, I felt like they tried too hard at it. There’s a scene, where Mark and Daniel brawl in the streets, that might have been hysterical, but it fell flat. It started off well with awkward kicks and girly slaps, but it went on too long and was peppered with corny, predictable dialogue. The highlight of Bridget’s comedic scenes took place in the Thai prison where she loaned out her bra and taught the other inmates to sing “Like a Virgin.” It had humor, but the moments were few and far between.
As is often the case, neither of these sequels lived up to their predecessors. However, in a fight against each other rather than their originals, it’s a fair comparison.
As far as settling which sex can act like a bigger idiot, I have to give it to the women in this case. While the men in Hangover II got into far worse trouble, it was mostly circumstantial, through little fault of their own. Bridget Jones, however, made her own trouble and continuously compounded it with one self-destructive move after another.
The better film, however, is a different story. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason missed the mark on every comparison. Amusing, fast-paced, and far more memorable, the winner clearly is The Hangover Part II.
Bridesmaids -vs- The Hangover from Kevin Wohler.
Watch the SmashUp trailer below.