Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hangover: Part 2 Review

Directed By: Todd Phillips
Produced By: Todd Phillips, Daniel Goldberg
Written By: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong, Craig Mazin
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis 
Edited By: Debra Neil-Fisher, Mike Sale
Music By: Christophe Beck
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Runtime: 102 minutes
Rating: R for "pervasive language, strong sexual content, including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent language"


Director Todd Phillips not wanting to mess with the winning formula (thinking if it ain't broke, don't fix it) reintroduces the same characters and the very same scenario that made The Hangover a box office hit. This time around it’s Stu (Ed Helms) getting married; not to the lovely stripper with the heart of gold from Part I (which personally made me sad after all the bonding that went on at the end of the first film) but to some random girl named Lauren (Jamie Chung) who basically says hi and then bye; which is the most character development you get out of her or any of the other women in the cast. The wedding and the overall setting takes place in the exotic local of Thailand in an effort to appease Ed’s Thai in-laws to be. Cautious from the hellish series of events that took place in Las Vegas two years prior, Stu even decides to play it safe with just an IHOP brunch. However not even ten movie minutes later, he is convinced that one beer bottle toast wouldn’t hurt and BAM let the games begin. Lo and behold, the “Wolf Pack” is back at it again. 

Spoilers after the break!

What happens can be summed up perfectly through Phil’s (Bradley Cooper) line, “It happened again” which I’ll give them a few points for acknowledging how odd it is that this keeps happening to them, a lot of sequels gloss over that. And Phil’s not kidding; what ensues for the next hour is basically The Hangover happening again. It seems like Todd Phillips didn’t even bother touching the script let alone the formula; The Hangover: Part II seeming more like a sad attempt at a remake than a sequel. It wasn’t just the same cast and same scenario (I expected that) but the same plot, jokes, sequence of plot turns, sadly even the same random appearance of Mike Tyson.

This time they've awoken in a seedy Bangkok hotel room with Alan (Zack Galifianakis) pantless again, a monkey instead of a tiger, Stu sporting a Tyson tattoo instead of a missing tooth and no memory of how they got there.  Also it's the bride's younger brother, Teddy, who is the missing one.

The overall movie is just one big replacement of something that happened in The Hangover; every gag or joke set up with  “remember when that thing happened two years ago . . .well, its happening again” introduction.  Replace the doctor with a tattoo artist, the Wedding Chapel guy with strip club owner (actually the same guy), black Doug with an old monk under a vow of silence; basically the mistaken identity bit once again, replace Alan and the baby with Alan and a monkey, leave in Chow’s (Ken Jeong) jack-in-the-box routine but make him stay around longer (sadly this bigger role is not better) and top it all off in the end with the usual “when all seems lost, one of them puts two and two together to figure out where the missing one's been all along” scenario and you got The Hangover: Part II. Even the explanation for how the group ended up in Bangkok is essentially the same as the first film, but entirely more lazy in execution.  The detective work we saw in the first film, looking for one clue which then leads to another, is no where to be found in Part II.  In its place is a sad slapdash execution that seemed like the writers didn’t even have the patience to deal with the logic of how to the gang got from point A to point B; case in point one clue in particular is arrived at by Alan meditating it back into memory.

Everything afterwards becomes an effort to out do The Hangover – but not in a good way, each new joke is once again set up with an “its happening again” introduction but with an added need by creators to prove that “it’s more bad-ass” this time around.  This approach makes the situations more unnecessarily risqué in an effort for a cheap laugh; no one sent the writers a memo explaining that penis shots are not inherently funny. They even expand Galifianakis’s role of Alan, the troublesome tag-along, showing off his awkward off brand humor at all the wrong moments with too many moments.      

Part II is everything the first movie was, and less. It misses a lot of laughs either because the jokes seem too familiar or it seems like they were trying too hard. With the occasional chuckle here and there, the film is not completely irredeemable. The situations still have some laughs left in them, and Helms, Cooper, and Galifianakis still share the comic timing and group dynamic that made the original such fun. But the jokes feel strained where once they felt easy. Overall, The Hangover: Part II’s attempt to recapture the magic of it's predecessor just didn’t make the cut.


-Amber Stapleton

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  1. I chuckled every once and awhile, but there just wasn't as much joy and fun as there was in the first one. Good Review!

  2. Nice review. Abhorrent movie.