The Hangover Part II
Stu’s getting married, but after the chaos surrounding the Vegas bachelor party, Stu wants something much simpler for his night out with the boys. But when the Wolfpack’s in the house, it’s time to leave your inhibitions at the door. One drink by the fire becomes an all-out frenzy across Bangkok when the boys lose Stu’s brother in law the night before the wedding.
A couple summers ago director Todd Phillips had me laughing in the aisles with THE HANGOVER, a sleeper comedy hit that seemingly came out of nowhere, much like the action hit TAKEN did the year before. Now I’d seen trailers for both don’t get me wrong, but most of the publicity for these films came out late and sparingly (the red band HANGOVER trailer was pure gold). The element of surprise isn’t something we see much of these days when it comes to movies. The studios dump so much money into these films and want them to succeed so badly that they literally flood the internet and TV with trailers (a teaser, a couple trailers, a red band trailer when applicable and then an international trailer or two, not to mention all the stand alone clips) to help the hype train and when it comes to comedies that’s not always a good thing…but first things first.
When it comes to comedy the first and most important question will always be was it funny and in this case yes it was. The next question is was it funny enough to carry the film forward as a franchise and did it need to be made and of course that answer is a resounding no. Before I break that down for you, let me first address the mainstream rant about HANGOVER 2 as I understand it. People are saying this film was more or less a carbon copied clone of the original in a different country and due to this lack originality the film loses credibility. I disagree. People are far too critical these days when it comes to films and sequels and they tend to forget that this formula has been done many times and done well at that. Take the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy for example, can anyone truly deny that each film was pretty much the identical story spread out over three time periods with the same characters, locales and even same lines in some places? That said, I love those films, well to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the third one but the first two are stellar works of perfection (I even have a prop of Marty’s hoverboard, yeah, I’m THAT big a fan). Even so, I can’t deny they used the same formula as the HANGOVER films.
What it comes down to for me is that “laughing from the pit of your stomach” feeling you get when you see something outrageously funny and with the original HANGOVER there were many times I laughed so hard that there were tears in my eyes. After picking up the Blu-ray, an odd thing happened while I was watching the film for a second time. I knew the “surprise factor” would be gone but like many of my favorite comedies, I didn’t think it would have such a drastic effect on the film’s second viewing. Sadly, it did. The super funny parts were still funny (the fat Jesus bit always cracks me up) but something was missing. This is how I felt as I watched THE HANGOVER 2. The first half hour was actually a riot, no joke, I laughed a lot, but when they got into the same hide and go seek mode as the first one the flick slowed down for me. There was a laugh here and there but it felt like a series of over the top gross out tactics jacked up on steroids in hopes of outdoing the original.
THE HANGOVER 2 is hilarious in its own right, no question about it and I have no beef with Todd Phillips making these characters act the same way they did in the first film, after all the boys and their off the wall chemistry are the heart of the film. I mean honestly, if that’s who these guys are then it’s who they are. Why wouldn’t they act the same way if lighting struck twice? It worked for John McClane. The bottom line is that since the shock value was already gone after the first one, the second one had no chance of being on the same level so in order to enjoy it you really have to view it as a separate film, which is rough considering it’s the same film all over again. Therein lies the ironic predicament surrounding THE HANGOVER 2. Even the pictures at the end (which had me in tears the first time around) were funny but just not THAT funny. Oh, and speaking of things that aren’t THAT funny, the whole scandal behind Ed Helms sporting the Champ’s tattoo is just plain ridiculous.