The Hangover Part II (2011) – Review

1 Star

This follow-up to the blockbuster comedy from 2009 is a bizarre and desperate rehash of the original with very little to offer other than some moderately amusing bits. Director Todd Phillips is a gifted comedic director but here he and co-writers Craig Mazin and Scott Armstrong confuse ‘gross’ with ‘funny’. The screenplay is a beat for beat copy with none of the fun or freshness that made the first film so appealing. This time around Stu (Helms) is getting hitched in Thailand but not before the wolf pack have one last night to remember (or forget). Upon waking in a steamy Bangkok hotel room the three best friends (Cooper, Galifianakis, and Helms) set out on the city to retrieve Stu’s missing teenage brother-in-law. Partly aided in their journey by the chaos minded Mr. Chow (Ken Joeng) and a smoking monkey the trio come across all sorts of unsavory characters in piecing the night together and finding the boy.

The Hangover films are essentially mysteries with a comic twist but there has always been a dark undercurrent to both films. The original straddled the line well, but this misguided sequel falls off the tracks early (particularity a scene in which Stu finds out he made love to a hooker) and is never able to right itself. The wolf pack is the cinematic equivalent to a modern-day Three Stooges; their interplay is full of chemistry and verve. But transplanting the group and story to Thailand seems like a case of ‘sequelitis’ much in the same vein as the ill regarded Oceans Twelve. I’m sure the cast and filmmakers had a fantastic time making this, the behind the scenes docs on the DVD will no doubt offer more laughs than anything on-screen here.

Warner Bros. has already announced plans to start the process of gearing up for The Hangover Part III. But I think they have used up all audience good-will in this disappointing outing. This scenario is now dated and we will no doubt see spoofs in the near future. A major step backwards from the previous film and one of the years biggest letdown.

Director: Todd Phillips
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis

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