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Friday, June 3, 2011

The Hangover 2: A Drag Queen Asks, "Where's the Beef?"

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 12:40 PM

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It is always a little bit exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking to wake up to an e-mail from your editor. "Uh-oh, what have I said now?" is usually what runs through my mind. But luckily for me, this week it was a special assignment!! Oh yes, I'm moving up quick!!

"Oh, you want me to see The Hangover (pause) 2?" Hmm, was this e-mail meant for the sports guy? (Do we have a sports guy?) The beer blogger?"

No, in fact, it was meant for me. You see, it was brought to my attention that there may be some questionable rifts on the gay/trans community in the movie, and that my most colorful of takes on it would be greatly appreciated! Well if that wasn't all I needed to hear to now make me want to see it, and see what the fuss was all about (for free naturally, all in the name of research).

I did see the first Hangover (not in the theater, puhlease), and thought it was funny and entertaining. I didn't really notice anything too un-PC in it, but generally, I like lowbrow, dirty, vulgar comedy, so I was eager to see what the new installment of this brocom was all about. (Okay, my roommate gave me brocom, but I can't help thinking it sounds like a dude convention!)

All things considered, The Hangover 2 is pretty freaking hilarious (for free). It's dirty, it's crass, it's vulgar, and it's funny. (Remember, they're not discussing rocket science here.) There are obvious holes in the "plot" and everything gets wrapped up all nice, cute, and convenient in the end blah blah blah zzzzzzzz! Let's cut to the chase and get to the juicy bits, so to speak.

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The sordid topic of homophobia and transphobia in the media and entertainment is not easy to tackle. Even within the GLBTQLMNOP community, there are various schools of thought as to what is acceptable and what is not, just as in any other community, whether based on gender, sexual preference, or race. I am pretty liberal and have been known to make the OCCASIONAL off-color remark, so my take on the movie might be far different from, say, a hardline queer activist or someone who has been bullied for being different, but I seek only to bring up discussion.

Now, knowing I was seeing the movie for a reason, may have made my senses heightened to look for things, so, to be honest, I can't tell if I am being picky, or just picking up on things that others take for granted,

For instance, the word "gay" is thrown around a few times. Depending on its delivery and deliverer, it's either fine or questionable. It's interesting to note that the two people that said it are the asexual (supposedly straight) characters of Chang the drug-addicted party animal and Allen, the husky shut-in with his fixations on Phil and Teddy.

It's not clear whether Allen (Zach Galifianakis) is straight or gay, and his manner could be construed as upper-crust or flamboyant (strolling through the airport on their way to Thailand in a pseudosafari ensemble with a scarf, a valet pushing his cart of LV luggage) but when he mentions someone is "a gay," that is different than saying someone is "gay." If I thought his character were gay, then calling someone "a gay" isn't offensive, but if he is not gay, then it means something else.

Coupled with Allen's fixation on Phil (Bradley Cooper), which could possibly be construed as a crush, his delivery of the phrase goes nowhere because of the ambiguity of his character. You don't know whether to be offended, because his character is "crazy."

Now, when Chang (Ken Jeong) calls the monkey "gay" for licking his penis, everyone knows that doesn't make you gay, just bi. Granted, you're talking about a monkey, so again the delivery is "safe" and a monkey can't be seen as gay, even if he is wearing a sleeveless denim vest.

Next: Chicks with Dicks the Guys Somehow Didn't See Coming!

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Steven LeMay

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