Hangover Part II
years ago, the surprise critical and popular success of The Hangover
led you to believe that Todd Phillips – a journeyman comic writer/director
who was best known for mediocre fare like Old School,
School For Scoundrels and
Starsky & Hutch – had significantly raised his game. It looked like he
was a comic voice to be reckoned with.
the time since, he has helmed the two high profile projects, both
co-starring the breakout Hangover star Zach Galafianakis. The first
volley was the often painful Planes Trains and Automobiles rip-off
Due Date. Several months later, this sporadically funny sequel to his
magnum opus comes along. Actually calling it a sequel may be a bit of a
misnomer. It is much more like a blatant remake of the original – a tiny
bit wilder for effect, but also much less fresh and interesting than its
Suddenly, the thought occurs: maybe The Hangover was an anomaly, not
a sign of greatness to come so much as a happy accident of concept, cast and
The Hangover 2
strains mightily to
recapture the magic of the first chapter – and it even periodically does –
but in the long run there is a desperate sense of been-there, done-that to
the proceedings. The first film was so memorable because the film had found
a unique way to glimpse some pretty common bachelor party movie tricks.
However, by simply repeating the same concept
– the guys got so fucked up
that they have no idea what exactly they did the night before and have to
piece together the debauchery through detective work and random clues – the
movie lost the spontaneity and sense of excitement of the original and has
not found anything new to replace it with.
Therefore, when the film does get funny – and there are some very big laughs
strewn about here – you still feel the need to compare it to the original,
which was simply more naturally and consistently humorous.
Galifianakis is once again the comic bright light here, with Ken Jeong’s Mr.
Chow coming in and stealing his few scenes. Bradley Cooper and particularly
Ed Helms are kind of hung out to dry here, though. They really have nothing
to do but relive their earlier adventures, and frankly this shows in both of
their performances, which are an odd mixture of manic and perfunctory.
again, Justin Bartha has not nearly enough to do – though in the first film
at least there was a plot reason for his absence. Here, it just seems like
they didn’t feel like writing him into the storyline.
Sure, they added a couple of biggish-name cameos: Paul Giamatti
and Nick Cassavettes (replacing
the bigger-named Mel Gibson, who
was cut from the film due to the bad press stemming from
his extracurricular foibles.) They even bring back Mike Tyson,
though they give him much less funny stuff to do than the first time around
(unless, of course, the idea of seeing him lisp-singing
“One Night in Bangkok” from
Chess is inherently hysterical to you.)
the plotlines that remain from the previous film are ratcheted up for comic
effect, and strangely that somehow lessens them. For example, is there
really any reason for one of our heroes to find out that he slept with a
she-male prostitute? Wasn’t the regular prostitute from the first film
enough? Why don't they ever bother to explain how
Galifianakis’ head was shaved? And what was the deal with the drug-running monkey? Also, I can
not imagine anyone reacting to losing a finger with the matter-of-factness
that one of the supporting characters here does, as well
as his loving family who also can’t be bothered to be upset about this
it is all supposed to be explained away with the simple apocryphal
explanation which is repeated here ad nauseum, “Bangkok has got
Which brings up another puzzle about this film: why Bangkok? Oh, sure, I
know that in Bangkok sex, drugs and human life are cheap. I’m not asking
why the filmmakers chose it – I’m asking why the characters would be there
filmmakers lay on a tortured explanation – that the Ed Helms character was
marrying a woman from Bangkok and her parents wanted the wedding there. Now
first of all, this completely overlooks the fact that Helms’ character
married Heather Graham in the last film – okay a drunken marriage with a
hooker on the night you met her may not be a recipe for wedded bliss – but
other than a couple of passing jokes, that relationship was not even
acknowledged here. (Where did
she go? How and why did they break up? What happened to her kid
that he supposedly loved so much?)
Then, how did he meet this new woman? – who is a
complete doormat, by the way, and at the same time,
way too pretty for him. Why did her father – who makes it quite
clear that he can’t stand the guy his daughter is marrying – fly everyone
out to have a massive, expensive wedding that he in no way approves of? And
why did his best friends go, flying across the globe
when this was the third wedding he either had
or had planned in the last two years?
know, looking for rational storytelling in a Hangover movie is a
fool’s errand. However, the first film did have its own fractured logic.
And frankly, the fact that I had so much time to wonder about film plot
points is just proof that The Hangover Part II did not do its job.
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: May 25, 2011.