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Is it Really “Part 2” Of “The Hangover?”

Is it Really “Part 2” Of “The Hangover?” (photo)

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There are few bolder moves in filmmaking than sticking a “Part 2” at the end of the title of a sequel, because “Part 2” says that a sequel isn’t a sequel at all. Instead, the filmmaker claims the second film is actually a piece of a larger story that’s been planned from the beginning. Since this is, in most cases, utter nonsense, it takes a certain amount of hubris to try it. Do we really believe that Sylvester Stallone knew from the very beginning that he was going to spin off John Rambo into “Rambo: First Blood Part II?” No; in fact, we can be fairly certain he didn’t, since in the original ending of “First Blood” Rambo kills himself. They changed the ending, the movie was a hit, and so we got “Part II,” with a nearly unrecognizable version of character from the first “First Blood,” no longer combat shocked and now packed with rippling muscles he acquired from years of anabolic steroid use hard living on a chain gang.

Occasionally the “Part 2” tag works, mostly in cases where the director makes a movie that builds upon the world and narrative of the first film. “The Godfather Part II” — which, according to its director is the first “Part II” title in history — continues the saga of the Corleone family in two different time periods, both before and after the events of the first film. And “Back to the Future Part II,” which I’ve written about before on, pulls off a similar game of temporal hopscotch, filling out the complex chronology of Marty and Doc rather than simply rehashing it. When it does rehash the previous film, it does so in a brilliantly self-referential play on the repetitive nature of most sequels. These are great movies, but they’re still both cases of “Part 2″s earned rather than planned.

I found myself thinking about “Part 2” sequels today while I watched the new trailer for “The Hangover Part II.” Take a look:

Most of the creative team’s back for “The Hangover Part II” including director (now also co-writer) Todd Phillips and stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zack Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, and Ken Jeong. But the trailer makes it look less like a continuation than a rehash. The location is different but the characters, narrative gimmick, and Ed Helms facial disfiguration gags are all the same. That could still make an interesting sequel if the finished film plays up the nightmarish, almost “Twilight Zone”-esque quality of these men’s lives. Will it acknowledge the fact that they seem almost karmically doomed to repeat the same awful misadventures over and over again? I kind of hope so.

On the other hand, when you have Helms say in the trailer “I can’t believe this is happening again!” you’re basically negating the “Part 2” title there. Curiously, in early interviews about the film, Galifianakis suggested the sequel would be much closer to a true expansion of the original, rather than a repetition. “The problem with ‘Hangover 2’ is that we have to up what we did which is very difficult,” he told Latino Review. “So we get, I think, kind of kidnapped. It has nothing to do with the bachelor party. We’re definitely not doing that again.”

Maybe the boys do get kidnapped. Maybe “Hangover Part II” won’t feel like the same movie again. Maybe when it comes out we won’t make jokes about what “Hangover Part III” will look like (“This time Bradley Cooper’s newborn baby is missing! And Ed Helms gets a tongue ring…in Antarctica!”). Convincing me that “The Hangover Part II” is a worthwhile sequel will be easy if it’s funny. Convincing me that it’s second part of enormous tapestry of half-remembered shenanigans and Mike Tyson jokes will be much more difficult.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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