I loved The Hangover when I saw a screening of the Vegas-centric comedy weeks ago, but some of my co-workers have scoffed at the film’s incorporation of borderline child abuse to collect laughs. Of what scenes do these dissenters speak? As seen in the trailer (embedded below), Hangover‘s sunglasses-clad baby gets hit in the head with a car door and is left alone in the vehicle to field the Vegas heat. Okay, if these scenes were to occur in real life, it would be extremely unfunny. And though it may just be my unabashed love for Zach Galifianakis getting in the way, I do find these scenes pretty darn funny. I mean, it’s a movie. It’s fiction. This baby is not really being harmed. In fact, he’s probably earned a decent chunk of money to add to his college fund. And I sincerely doubt anyone will leave the theater thinking they should emulate this threesome of tequila-soaked losers, so why should we worry about what kind of image they portray?
That being said, a few days ago, I hopped excitedly to the theater for a showing of Drag Me To Hell, only to walk out slightly amused, but mostly disturbed by one scene in the film. (Let’s now pause for your requisite SPOILER ALERT for those of you who haven’t seen it). I’m speaking of the scene in which Alison Lohman’s character sacrifices a kitten. A poor, defenseless kitten. A tiny kitten that’s so cute-as-a-button, when it first appeared on-screen, I thought to myself, If anything happens to that adorable little kitten, I am so out of here. (For the record, I stayed put anyway). So as much as I enjoyed the gross-out antics of the rest of Sam Raimi’s latest masterpiece, I couldn’t help but feel disgusted and, yes, even angry that the director would choose to include animal abuse in his film.
Of course, this just leaves me confused. Is something wrong with me? Why am I okay with a movie that depicts a baby getting hurt, but kitten abuse leaves me feeling revolted? The fact that one is a comedy and one isn’t might be part of the reason, sure, but the fact that I’m not a parent, but a cat owner, might play into it somewhat as well. After all, I laughed watching Brüno‘s poor baby-handling antics, but was upset when Family Guy chose to kill an animated cat earlier this season. Your thoughts, PopWatchers? Am I flawed emotionally? Do you think The Hangover is taking it too far?