By John Beifuss
“THE HANGOVER PART II” may represent the ugliest portrait of a foreign land and culture since jailed American student Brad Davis was driven to bite off a stoolie’s tongue in a hellhole Turkish prison in “Midnight Express.” Mistaking meanness for edge, borderline racism for irreverence and disregard for women as “boys will be boys” solidarity, this “Part II” is as horrifying as a “Saw” sequel, but with fewer laughs.
Lighten up? Or light up, like the movie’s scene-stealing, chain-smoking monkey? The capuchin’s cigarette habit may have been augmented with digital effects (I believe director Todd Phillips when he says the monkey didn’t actually smoke on set), but the animal-abuse aspect of the comedy was disturbing enough to the American Humane Society that the organization refused to grant its customary “no animals were harmed” disclaimer to the film.
The movie’s monk fares no better than its monkey. As an ancient Buddhist in a wheelchair who has taken a vow of silence, Aroon Seeboonruang is treated like a human sight gag or comedy prop as he is hauled around Bangkok by the bachelor party-gone-wrong “Wolfpack” trio. Would a priest or rabbi character be