The Hangover Part II
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat because I’m sure you’ve already heard it; THE HANGOVER PART II is, in fact, a virtual shot for shot re-do of the original. The real question is; does it really matter? If you’re holding it to the standards of the first film in terms of originality and creativity, then yes, it matters and you will be disappointed. If you don’t care about that and you just want a ton of penis jokes and some shocking comedy, then no, it doesn’t matter and you’ll have a great time with this sequel. Audiences aren’t going to flock to this to see a film that will redefine comedy, they’re going to pay the admission prices to see the “wolfpack” retrace their steps after another night of drunken debauchery and that’s exactly what they’re going to get.
Remember the first one? Yeah, it’s basically the same thing, except now Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married to a girl from Thailand and so you have to replace “Las Vegas” and insert “Bangkok”. And now instead of Doug (Justin Bartha) missing, it’s Teddy (Mason Lee), Stu’s future brother in-law. And instead of Baby Carlos, we have a monkey prone to fellatio. The naysayers weren’t lying when they said it’s the same thing, just in Bangkok. But the mystery that unfolds here is slightly bigger and surprisingly more shocking than what we had in the original. Much the same way an action sequel has to have bigger explosions, THE HANGOVER sequel has to have more raunchy comedy.
But it works. I wasn’t as big of a fan of the original as many people were, so I wasn’t expecting much from the sequel. But I found myself laughing out loud, maybe even more so than I did in the original. I was actually surprised it managed to keep my attention for 90 minutes and I know that’s the critical equivalent of patting a kid on the head after they try something and fail, but that’s sometimes how I feel when reviewing a Todd Phillips movie. Between this and DUE DATE, maybe audiences were a little too quick to heap praise on Phillips as being able to deliver original comedy. Truth be told, I’m frustrated with him for taking such an easy way out with this sequel. He wasted an opportunity to do something great with an A-list star and two comedians at the top of their game. I know he wanted to keep it on track with the original, but Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis could have done so much more with something new and fresh.
However, even though this film won’t wow you with originality, it’s still a very, very funny film. I admittedly didn’t know where they were going to take certain jokes and when the punchlines were delivered, I was laughing out loud with the rest of the audience. I enjoyed the bigger role for Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), even though his presence in the film made absolutely no sense. And I was appreciative of Phillips keeping Galifianakis in check; he’s a supporting character and remained so in the sequel. The star of the film is Ed Helms, who is quickly proving to be one of the funniest people in Hollywood. His reactions after Phil (Bradley Cooper) got shot were priceless.
Regardless of the film’s faults, it succeeds on giving the audience bigger laughs, more stunts and even crazier drunken antics. There’s a reason the first film was such a huge success; the formula worked and the filmmakers know that. I enjoyed it at times, but unfortunately, the air of familiarity is too strong and although funny, the film isn’t going to impress anyone with its originality.