In The Hangover, four friends went to Las Vegas, blacked out, were tasered by a small child, established a tenuous friendship with Mike Tyson, and outsmarted a Korean gangster who first appeared onscreen naked and jumping out of a trunk. There was also a marriage to a prostitute, a pantsless hug, several musical performances by members of the cast, a comically bad sunburn, and closing credit sequence comprised mainly of photographs of simulated sex acts..
These are not the elements of high comedy, but The Hangover grossed $277 million and won over the majority of critics back in 2009 because it was a well-done raunchy summer comedy. Now that Mike Tyson's tattoo artist isn't a threat to hold up the release of The Hangover Part II, the early reviews seem shocked that a sequel to a crude, tasteless movie is this crude and tasteless. Did anyone think the sequel--whose trailer looks pretty much identical to the original--would mess with this formula?
"Is this some kind of a test?" wonders Roger Ebert in his opening paragraph. "The Hangover, Part II plays like a challenge to the audience's capacity for raunchiness. It gets laughs, but some of them are in disbelief. As if making sure no one was not offended, it has a montage of still photos over the closing titles that include one cruel shot that director Todd Phillips should never, ever have used."