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Movie Review Monday: The Hangover Part II



Mike Finkelstein took a trip to…somewhere…  When he got there, he…um…not sure, actually…heh.  Damn…I’m sorry…I just woke up and I can’t remember a thin—AHHH!!!  Where did this tattoo come from?!?  AHHH!!!  (My review for “The Hangover: Part II”.)

PLOT: Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) are at it again.  In Thailand for Stu’s wedding, the wolfpack has a single drink on the beach, and wake up the next morning in Bangkok.  But this time, the stakes are raised when it isn’t Doug (Justin Bartha), but Stu’s bride’s little brother that goes missing.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW: THE HANGOVER was one of the biggest comedy hits of 2009, let alone the past decade.  It grossed $467 Million worldwide, and was appropriately called “The CITIZEN KANE of bachelor party movies.”  So when a sequel is put out a mere two years later, praised by the cast as wilder and crazier than the first, could it live up to the hype?

Sadly, it does not…

The boys are in Thailand for Stu’s wedding.  After one drink on the beach, they wake up in the middle of Bangkok with Stu’s bride’s 16-year-old brother missing.  Alan swears he didn’t do any drugging this time, so away we go, on the same trip as Las Vegas, except in a different country.

That’s the first big issue.  PART II is an exact mirror of THE HANGOVER.  You know you have a problem when the best part of the film comes during the setup before any plot kicks in.  Everything before Thailand was great.  It was original, new, and showed the boys in a new environment.  But then, in Thailand, take the structure of the first, replace any mention of “Las Vegas” with “Bangkok”, and “Doug” with “Teddy”, and you got the movie.  (This mashup shows just how serious I am…)  Granted, this isn’t anything new…HOME ALONE 2 and BACK TO THE FUTURE II are just a few examples of other movies that have done the same…but even those sequels went off the path at certain points and made you wonder what was going to happen.  Here, there is no change.  If anything, at least try to fool your audience into thinking something is original.  You know exactly what is going to happen, you know where the story is going, and like anything that lets you have the prize before you get to the winner’s circle, you just don’t really care anymore…

But, you ask hopefully, at least we can enjoy the hi-jinks, right…?  Even with that same structure as the first, everything just felt too damn farfetched and forced. In Vegas, everything that happened had a trail.  It may have been crazy, but you could see how the boys connected the dots and got from point A to point B, both the previous night and while figuring it all out.  That explanation is what made it so believable and fun.  This time, the story almost felt like a pumped up caricature of its former self…like Phillips was trying to think of the most ridiculous things the Wolfpack could do, and just plug those into the grid of the first script.  One incident with Stu, especially, which has already caused some controversy, completely shut me off.  All I can say is there were only gasps in the theater at that moment, and I was absolutely disgusted.  There’s a difference between pushing the limit and crossing the line, and that crossed the line.

But then what about the characters we love, you ask?  Stu, Phil and Doug are all back and great (especially Phil, who takes a much more responsible turn this time around).  Even Mr. Chow comes along for the ride (with some of the best lines, mind you).  But what the hell happened to Alan? In the first movie, he was a bumbling idiot who just wanted everyone to have fun.  This time, he’s just mean.  The stuff that he says to his mother is wrong…”I guess we don’t do dessert anymore”?  This movie is a guy’s movie through and through, so it doesn’t particularly need a feminine equal, but I completely agree with Nikki Cove’s editorial…that doesn’t mean you have to degrade women either.  That mixed with the way Alan legitimately wants to hurt Teddy just paints him as an obsessed psycho.  I’m sad I had to see him in this light, because I really won’t be able to look at him in Part I the same again now that I know what he’s capable of…

So with all these flaws, was there anything really good about the movie?  Don’t get me wrong, THE HANGOVER PART II definitely tried its best.  Todd Phillips knows how to make his movies look beautiful, and there are some decent laughs throughout that would make me buy it on DVD. (I especially loved the pictures at the end again.)  It’s just that they were overshadowed by all the bad.  You could tell that everyone came back had a blast filming, and I have no doubt that in all the interviews, Helms, Cooper and Galifianakis weren’t lying when they said they thought it’d be amazing and top the original.  But sadly, when the stakes aren’t there and your best friends are only figments of what they once were, there is no way to have lightning strike twice…


Mike’s LIKES:

1) TEDDY: Teddy was one character that was so simple and nice.  Nothing phased this kid, and he was just chill.  You couldn’t help but like him.

2) STU, DOUG, and PHIL: These three are back in form as usual.  It was nice to see the familiar characters, and their reactions to what they’re going through.

3) MIKE TYSON: I know the cameo was tacked on as a complete “Look at me, I’m making fun of myself” moment, but it was still amusing to see.


1) ALAN: I’m sorry, but this time around, the guy really isn’t likeable.  In the first one, he’s a bumbling idiot who cares, and he drugs everyone because he wanted them to have a good time.  This time, he’s just plain mean.  There really wasn’t anything about him that was redeeming in this movie, and that’s sad.

2) STU’S RENDEVOUS: No, I’m sorry…This wasn’t funny for one second to me.  There was a line that was crossed for the character, and that was the moment where I said “I’m done”

3) NO REPERCUSSIONS: In the first HANGOVER, the things that happened could be fixed.  Here, there were things that couldn’t be fixed…unless it’s conveniently in movie land, and all you need is an inspirational speech.

4) WEAK WEAK REASONING: I’m not surprising anyone when I say the movies are identically structurally, but with such a weak “OMG” moment, you’d expect more.


1) Mel Gibson was supposed to play the tattoo artist, but the idea was dropped following protests from the cast and crew. He was replaced by Liam Neeson, but when Todd Phillips wanted to reshoot Neeson’s scene, he was unavailable, due to filming of WRATH OF THE TITANS.  Nick Cassavetes now plays the tattoo artist.

2) Despite rumors, Bill Clinton does not have a cameo in the movie.


Who Is This Brian Balthazar Guy, Anyway?

Did you see Brian on TV today? Wondering who he is? Here’s much more than you wanted to know. They leave the part out that he loves a well mixed Dark And Stormy, but let’s keep things professional…




You may have seen Brian Balthazar on television this morning, heard him on the radio, or read about some recent developments in the world of media and pop culture. But who the hell is this guy? Brian Balthazar leads a double – triple – okay, maybe quadruple life. Part journalist, actor and comic, he appears on many TV shows as a guest, but is also a developer and creator of several television shows behind the scenes. This when he’s not renovating homes and making snacks for his websites, and

After launching the fourth hour of the Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, he turned his attention to cable television, overseeing the direction and development of several shows on HGTV, including Flip or Flop, Love It Or List It, Christina On The Coast, House Hunters, Hit Properties with Nathan Morris, Flea Market Flip and dozens more.

As a comic he served as the opening act for Russell Brand In New York City and the MTV series Man and Wife featuring hype man Fatman Scoop.  He has performed at The Comic Strip, Caroline’s On Broadway, Gotham Comedy Club and more.Wendy Williams Show Feb 2013

In addition to being a frequent guest on “The Wendy Williams Show,” (he co-hosted several times during Williams’ three week break) and appearing on the “Today” show, where he guest co-hosted with Jenna Hager-Bush,  Brian has frequently been seen co-hosting the syndicated TV gossip show Page Six TV.

Additionally, he was the sideline reporter for HGTV’s Rose Parade Coverage, hosted the HGTV Special I Bought A Famous House, and has appeared on CBS’s The Talk, HLN’s Showbiz Tonight, MSNBC’s Caught On Camera, The Joy Behar Show, and more.

Brian Balthazar Kathie Lee Hoda

An appearance on the fourth hour of the TODAY show with Kathie Lee and Hoda.

He has also been an emcee for many notable events and sponsors, including work as a brand ambassador for Bombay Company, the co-host of the Miss Tennessee and Miss Mississippi USA pageants, and a red carpet host at the Daytime Emmy Awards.

You may also have seen Brian in some viral videos, most notably a recent parody of Bird Box, and a satirical look at House Hunters’ Writers’ Room.

HGTV – House Hunters Writer’s Room from Buffalo Picture House on Vimeo.

 Brian Balthazar Bombay

Appearing in a series of videos for Bombay Company.


Brian has provided analysis, interviews and helped co-host the Tony Awards backstage show. He also followed all the backstage madness at the launch of Fashion Week in New York City while co-hosting the Red Dress Event. He has been a roving reporter for the Dr. Oz show. Earlier in his career he was a features reporter and contributor on NBC, MSNBC, United Airlines In-Flight Entertainment and more.

For A&E network, Brian appeared in an episode of Biography about Jim Carrey. He also provided play by play of some of film’s greatest car chases for a documentary about, well, car chases. (Ask his family and they will tell you: NO one would have expected to see him in a show about cars. We’ll leave it at that.)


Before ‘finding himself’ professionally, Brian was a singer on a ship, a publicist for a trance medium, an insurance customer service rep, waiter, bartender, activities director, substitute teacher, website programmer, pianist at a camp for spoiled children, and college mascot. None of them worked out. Let’s hope this does.

To contact Brian, email

To check out his video clips from NBC, HLN, and MSNBC, click HERE…

And – become his friend on facebook!

For a more extensive listing of his TV appearances visit his IMDB page.

And he’s apparently getting better about Twitter. So he says. He’s @BrianBalthazar.

Thanks for reading POP GOES THE WEEK!

For his TV Appearances, Click on the TV APPEARANCES page.

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POP in the Kitchen! The Perfect Snack and Cocktail Pairings.



POP Goes The Week’s Brian Balthazar is part of the all new Food Network Kitchen App! Cook LIVE alongside Brian as he makes get party food and the drinks that go perfectly with them!

Hey everyone! I’m so excited for this – I was thrilled to be a part of the new app, which is an all new way to cook with your favorite chefs and cooking experts. In the app, you can get the recipe and ingredients and recipe in advance, check the live class schedule, then cook at the very same time as your instructor!

I was fortunate enough to be invited to do a live snack and cocktail pairing, which you can still watch – and cook along with me! Trust me, these all start out as live, which means anything can happen! (I have an adventure with the broiler in one of them!)

Download the app here.

For my recipes, I made a pulled pork toast with queso, sour cream radishes and green onions, along with a smoky mezcal paloma.

Pulled Pork Toasts with Sour Cream, Queso, Radishes and Green onions, garnished with cilantro. The recipe is literally those ingredients stacked onto baguette slices!

In another class, I make lavender honey that gets drizzled right on top of baked brie with herbs, then use that same lavender honey for my own interpretation of a “Bees Knees” cocktail that I call a “Bees Knees Breeze.” I came up with the variation because the original recipe, simply gin, honey and lemon was just TOO strong for me and I found myself always getting plastered!

Check out the gallery of what I made, all available on the FNK app!

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I hope you can check them out, AND all your favorite instructors like Bobby Flay, Giada de Laurentiis and Ree Drummond!



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‘Saved By The Bell’ Cast Reunited For 30th Anniversary – And I’m So Excited



If you think your high school experience feels like ancient history then it won’t bring you any comfort to know that Saved By The Bell debuted 30 years ago!

Back in 1989, Saved By The Bell hit the small screen and quickly became a television staple. Over the course of its four seasons, the sitcom followed Zach Morris and his unique blend of friends as they navigated the tricky waters of high school. Everyone had a favorite Bayside Tiger and the series spawned many memorable scenes…but you are a liar if you didn’t say your favorite scene was where Jessie broke down crying after coming to terms with her caffeine pill addiction while crying out the most iconic line ever, “I’m so excited…I’m so excited…I’m so…scared”


In any event, some of Bayside’s most memorable students reunited over the weekend to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the hit sitcom. Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zach Morris), Tiffany Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski), Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater) and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano) all gathered together to hit us right in the nostalgia. Notably missing were Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle) and Dustin Diamond (Screech). Berkley wrote on her Instagram “FRIENDS FOREVER!!!” along with some sweet and fun hashtags. Lopez upped the ante and posted a video recapping the fun time the gang had as they reminisced on the days way back when. WHY WASN’T THIS TELEVISED?!? Many are speculating the reunion to be the beginnings of a reboot or revival but nothing of the sort has yet been confirmed.



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FRIENDS FOREVER #spousestoo!!!❤️❤️❤️#imsoexcited #buddybands #love #friends #family #life #magic

A post shared by Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (@elizberkley) on



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Credit card roulette comin up! #OldSchool

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