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'The Hangover' and a Cigarette-Smoking Monkey.
by GoodFellas ECigarettes News Tuesday, May. 31, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Jeong, a doctor-turned-actor who has since joined the NBC series "Community" and landed a role in the upcoming "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," says he prepared for his expanded role by watching Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas


<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-IYj0oAggHQw/TeUA15j9RNI/AAAAAAAAAA0/n84blVDA9L8/s1600/monkey_smoking_1a.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left:1em; margin-right:1em"><img border="0" height="214" width="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-IYj0oAggHQw/TeUA15j9RNI/AAAAAAAAAA0/n84blVDA9L8/s320/monkey_smoking_1a.jpg" /></div>
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'The Hangover' guys return‎ More recently, there's been a controversy over the use of a cigarette-smoking monkey
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NEW YORK — Question: When does comedy become serious business?
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Answer: When you're making the sequel to the $277-million hit "The Hangover."
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Back in June 2009, few could have predicted the runaway success of that movie, in which a group of guys wake up after a Las Vegas bachelor party with no memory of the night's debaucheries. Despite hitting theaters after years of gross-out comedies and bromances, "The Hangover" somehow managed to seem fresh, partly because of its edgy, sometimes dark sense of humor, in which drug use, violence and even an abandoned infant were played for laughs. "The Hangover," directed by Todd Phillips, eventually became the highest-grossing R-rated comedy in the United States.
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The movie also introduced America to a new group of stars. Bradley Cooper, who played the married but not dead Phil W, went on to major roles in "The A-Team" and "Limitless." Ed Helms, already familiar to fans of NBC's "The Office," gained a new level of fame as hapless dentist Stu. And Zach Galifianakis, as the socially inept man-child Alan, went from cult comedian to household name (albeit one difficult to pronounce), appearing opposite Robert Downey Jr. in last year's buddy movie "Due Date," also directed by Phillips.
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"The Hangover Part II," scheduled for release Thursday ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend, seems destined for profitability. Aside from its built-in fan base, the film will undoubtedly benefit from months of entertainment-section headlines about its production. Late last year came a string of stories about a Mel Gibson cameo that was nixed following objections from cast and crew members. (Gibson, then mired in the scandal around his inflammatory voice messages to a girlfriend, was apparently too radioactive for a movie that includes dismemberment, cocaine-snorting and full-frontal male nudity.) More recently, there's been a controversy over the use of a cigarette-smoking monkey — PETA and the American Humane Association are not amused — which may only boost the film's reputation for raunch.
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Still, everyone knows that sequels have a tendency to disappoint, and that includes the filmmakers. (As Helms puts it: "It's so easy for a sequel to just be lame.") Can Phillips and his cast truly re-create the organic, out-of-nowhere magic of the original?
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"There's a little trepidation," Phillips admits. "But it was a lot harder making a movie and turning to Bradley Cooper at 5 in the morning and saying, 'This is funny, but is anyone going to see it?' I'd rather have this pressure than the other kind of pressure. We can pretty much rest assured that people are going to turn up for it. Now the job is to make something that's as funny and as great, and swing for the fences."
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Phillips helped write the sequel's script (he was an uncredited writer on the original) with Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong, newcomers to the project with whom Phillips had collaborated on 2006's "School for Scoundrels." According to Mazin, "The first thing we had to nail down — and it was a permanent, constant discussion — was, how similar should we be to the first film, and how different?"
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Like its predecessor, "The Hangover Part II" begins days before a wedding, though now Stu is the groom and Thailand the locale. Once again, Stu and company wake up in a strange room without their memories — and minus one friend, Teddy (Mason Lee, in his film debut), the sheltered younger brother of Stu's bride. As they search for Teddy through the greasy streets of Bangkok, they encounter gun-toting criminals, violent Buddhists and the kind of surprise-in-every-package prostitutes for which the Thai capital is famous.
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The writers also felt that Bangkok provided the perfect setting for the return of Mr. Chow, the globe-trotting, sexually ambiguous gangster so memorably portrayed by Ken Jeong in the first film. "That voice that he has, it's unbelievable," Armstrong says of Jeong. "The commitment he has on set — he brings more energy on set than any other guy."
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Jeong, a doctor-turned-actor who has since joined the NBC series "Community" and landed a role in the upcoming "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," says he prepared for his expanded role by watching Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas" while in Thailand, paying close attention to Joe Pesci's mischievous Mafioso character. "I kept thinking, 'Chow loves chaos,'" Jeong says. "I made sure my reactions were the exact opposite of what everybody else is thinking. And Todd loved that."
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The sequel also leans on the comfortable chemistry between Helms, Cooper and Galifianakis, known collectively on screen as The Wolfpack. "We are all three very different archetypes, so there's no competition. Everyone gets their own style of comedy, and their own type of punch lines," says Helms, whose mild-mannered Stu again serves as the film's central (or most-abused) protagonist. "I think Todd did a magical thing by putting the three of us together."
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<b>A Fitting Subtitle For This Mess: When Terrible Scripts Happen To Once-Likable People</b>
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More often than not, it’s difficult to discern what the hell kind of movie Phillips intended to make. At times, he seems to be auditioning for future <b>Goodfellas-type directing jobs</b>, staging scenes with the humorless veracity of a Martin Scorsese picture, though, obviously, he’s no Uncle Marty. It doesn’t help that his cast is on a completely different page. Cooper, Helms, and Galifianakis, it seems, thought they were making a comedy (go figure), and, as a result, each channels their respective character’s persona from The Hangover to the smallest detail.
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Given that Phillips was told by Warner Bros. to start thinking of a sequel to "The Hangover" before the film was even released, are there already plans for a third? Yes, says Phillips, if only in his mind.
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"I think that if we did a third one it would be the last one, because I have an idea," Phillips says, noting that he has even chosen a location. "But you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to take the approach that the Olympics does with cities. I want to be courted, and I'm open to bribes."
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