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Writer's art doesn't reflect his life

La Cañada PTA dad says latest raunchy flick is about regret.

June 08, 2011|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

If there’s one thing La Cañada Flintridge screenwriter

and public schools booster Craig Mazin would like fellow Palm Crest Elementary School parents to know, it’s that for him life definitely doesn’t imitate art.

That’s because Mazin — a PTA volunteer and member of the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation’s Fundraising Task Force — is one of three writers behind “The Hangover Part 2,” widely anticipated to be this summer’s raunchiest comedy blockbuster.

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In 2009’s “The Hangover,” the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever, three friends wake up in a trashed Las Vegas hotel room unable to remember the events of an outrageous bachelor party the night before. In retracing their forgotten steps to find a missing friend (the groom, of all people), they piece together a comical riot of strippers, drugs and extreme mischief.

For the sequel, which opens Thursday nationwide, writer-director Todd Phillips tapped Mazin and co-writer Scott Armstrong (who weren’t involved in the original) to dream up an even wilder lost evening for the familiar characters played by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis in some of the seedier corners of Bangkok.

“If they were going to have that experience again, we wanted to make it so much worse,” said Mazin, 40. “This time, when they wake up they know they have the capacity to do terrible things. They’re in another country where they don’t speak the language, they’re hot, they’re scared, and they find at least one thing in the room that immediately signals to the audience that this is much more serious business than the first movie.”

In late 2010, Mazin traveled with the crew to film on location in Bangkok, seeing firsthand in the blazing heat of day how the city’s no-restraint strip clubs and party houses clean up after the unabashed real-life debauchery of the night before.

“A lot of days I found myself trying to find a place to put my laptop that didn’t look too gross. But it is gross, and that’s important. That’s what the title means. We pay for our fun,” he said. “When we see things in the light we realize it really wasn’t that much fun after all. That’s part of why I think people loved the first one. It’s about something universal: regret.”

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