Posted on Monday, October 17th, 2011 by Angie Han
The Hangover Part II is causing all sorts of legal trouble for Warner Bros. Back in April, tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill sued the studio over its use of a tattoo he’d designed for Mike Tyson, and late this summer a stunt double sued over significant head injuries he’d sustained during the production. Now another lawsuit has popped up concerning the film, this one by a California resident named Michael Alan Rubin who claims the movie was ripped off of a script he’d written based on his own life story.
Part of me wonders why Rubin would want to admit something like that even if it were true — the characters in the film mostly come across as jerks and dumbasses — but most of me understands that the potential for a fat financial settlement is a pretty compelling draw. More details after the jump.
In the lawsuit, which he filed last week, Rubin claims that the plot of The Hangover Part II was stolen from his own script about his real-life misadventures while on a honeymoon in Asia. According to Rubin, he married a Japanese woman named Tamayo in 2007, and the two embarked on a trip to Thailand and Asia where things quickly turned sour. The couple quarrelled over Rubin’s financial issues and at some point Tamayo even refused to share a bed with Rubin. Then, Rubin’s story goes, he met a Bollywood producer in India who wanted to cast him as the lead in some films, and Rubin wrote a script titled Mickey and Kirin based on his experiences with Tamayo. He supposedly submitted a copy to the Writers Guild of America, and later learned from a friend about the project The Hangover Part II.
Rubin is suing Warner Bros. for “copyright infringement, misappropriation of his publicity rights, and defamation.” With regard to the last count, Rubin’s specific grievance is that the filmmakers portrayed Ed Helms’ character as being on drugs when he cheated on his finacee and proposed to a transsexual prostitute. (He’s apparently okay with the cheating and prostitution parts.) I’m not a lawyer, so if any of you are, perhaps you can help clear this up — but does it make any sense to sue a company for defamation when no one but Rubin seems to view the characters as being based on Rubin in the first place?
Without knowing the details of the case, I can’t say whether or not it seems likely that Rubin really was ripped off. But for what it’s worth, The Hollywood Reporter, who broke the story, seems skeptical. For one thing, they point out, Rubin is representing himself. While that doesn’t prove he’s lying, it could suggest that his case is rather weak. But more importantly, they note that “Rubin provides no evidence that the producers of Hangover II knew who the heck he was.” Sounds pretty damning to me.