Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: The Hangover Part II Could Use Rehab

Plus, Kung Fu Panda 2 is Certified Fresh.

by | May 27, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got men behaving badly — again (The Hangover Part II, starring Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms) and the return of a bamboo-eating martial artist (Kung Fu Panda 2, with voice work from Jack Black and Angelina Jolie). What do the critics have to say?

The Hangover Part II

34%

Hey, remember The Hangover? It was pretty funny, right? What if they did basically the same thing, only this time in another country? Well, critics say that’s essentially the problem with The Hangover Part II — it’s got hilariously bawdy gags and manic energy, but it’s lacking the element of surprise that made the first film so fresh. The Wolfpack (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms) is back together, this time celebrating Helms’s impending matrimony. However, after another wild night, our heroes find themselves in Thailand, with Helms’s 16-year-old brother-in-law-to-be conspicuously absent. The pundits say the main problem with The Hangover Part II is that it’s slavishly similar to its predecessor, so the stars’ game efforts can’t disguise the fact that we’ve pretty much seen this stuff before. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some of cinema’s wildest bachelor parties.)

Kung Fu Panda 2

80%

Speaking of sequels, critics loved the bright colors and good humor of the first Kung Fu Panda, and for the most part they’re happy with Kung Fu Panda 2 as well — they say that if it isn’t as fresh this time out, it’s visually vibrant and briskly paced, with loads of endearing characters. Po (Jack Black) must use his finely honed fighting skills to defeat a formidable opponent who wants to rule all of China; in addition, our hero must turn inward to learn about his mysterious origin. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Kung Fu Panda 2 is smarter than your average bear, and better looking too, with remarkably dexterous fight sequences and a rollicking sense of fun.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn in a meditation on the origins of life as seen through the lens of a 1950s Midwestern family, is Certified Fresh at 83 percent.

  • United Red Army, a drama about a far-left group of Japanese students that killed some of its members during a training session, is at 83 percent.

  • Hello Lonesome, an indie dramedy that follows the lives of three lonely New Yorkers, is at 67 percent.

  • The Romanian import Tuesday, After Christmas, about a man whose marriage is tested after an affair with a young dentist, is at 62 percent.

  • Puzzle, a drama about a middle aged woman who discovers she has a remarkable talent for jigsaw puzzles, is at 60 percent.

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