“The first movie has become such a part of popular culture, but I think if anyone can top it, it’s [director] Todd Phillips, and he has,” says Bartha. “Even just reading the script made us laugh so hard, because it just takes these guys so much farther over the edge.”
In the film, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding.
After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don’t always go as planned. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can’t even be imagined.
In spite of the potential for disaster, Doug guilts Stu into inviting Alan to the wedding. “He makes it nearly impossible for Stu not to invite Alan because he is, after all, Doug’s brother-in-law,” Bartha relates. “Doug doesn’t think there could be any harm in Alan coming along. Fortunately for Doug, he doesn’t end up paying the price when everything goes terribly wrong.”
As in the first movie, Doug again misses out on the worst of it—that is, if you don’t count being trapped for hours on a roof in the Vegas sun. Says Phillips, “We needed Doug to be the voice of sanity and reason…to be the anchor keeping everyone at the hotel relatively relaxed and at bay. The downside is that Justin is so good and so funny, but in these movies he’s either stuck on the roof or is safely back at the hotel.”
“Doug is probably the most even-keeled out of all the guys,” Bartha says. “I always see him as the equalizer. He’s always trying to even out a situation and make everything better, but obviously it’s gotten out of hand again. So, he’s Phil, Stu and Alan’s connection to what’s going on here with the wedding. But, yeah, they go to hell and back. Doug’s heart is with them though—support from afar.”
Bartha became excited about making “The Hangover Part II” when the guys were reunited and ready to shoot the further adventures of Phil, Stu, Doug and Alan. “Todd never changes, no matter what you throw at him,” the actor says. “He has a very strong point of view with what he wants and he knows funny better than anyone. So, I think from the get-go, there was an awareness of what he wanted to achieve because there are such high expectations from the first one. He’s really sensitive to honoring `The Hangover’ and what it has become, because people love it so much now. He wants to push himself and push everyone to make this movie bigger, better, funnier, faster and crazier.”
“Todd is the leader of the Wolfpack,” Justin Bartha affirms. “When we’re shooting, he gets as close to the edge of frame as possible, and when he has an idea, he’ll just spit it out in the middle of the action. I think that lends an immediacy to the scenes and makes the whole thing so alive.”
Opening across the Philippines on June 8, “The Hangover Part II” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.