The Hangover: Part II

More of the same, in just a different place.

The Hangover (2009) was perhaps the most potent comedy of the last decade, putting an excellent mix of characters in an extraordinary situation that lent itself to all the fun. One way of making a good sequel to it would be to take those eccentric characters and put them in a new situation. Another way would be to get a new bunch of characters and put them in the same situation. Unfortunately, The Hangover: Part II does neither, and instead takes the same characters and puts them in the same situation, proving what it exactly is: a sequel made to milk the success of the first. If it was released a few years later, it could just as well have been called a reboot.

Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married in Thailand, since his bride’s parents live there. Two days before the wedding, Stu sits down with his friends and brother-in-law for a safe drink – sealed bottles of beer are handed out to each. As expected, three of them wake up the next morning in a dingy room of a shady hotel in Bangkok. Phil (Bradley Cooper) is cool, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is shaven bald and Stu has a tattoo on his face. Doug (Justin Bartha), back at the wedding resort, is safe. But Stu’s brother-in-law Teddy (Mason Lee) is missing. Also, there’s a monkey in the room. So begins, nay restarts the search for the missing person without memory of anything that transpired the previous night.

Director Todd Phillips pulls off a Michael Bay with The Hangover: Part II. Like the latter did with his Transformers sequel, Phillips relies on the success of the first movie and the existence of its characters in this movie to be enough to bring in the crowds. He does not aim to make a better movie, or even a different one. The agenda simply seems to be to capitalize on the box office success of the original. Many scenes are cloned, the sequence of events is closely followed and even the final reveal is strikingly reminiscent of the previous film. Yet, all this emulation is done at the cost of dumbing down the movie. Instead of piecing together clues, at least two characters have an epiphany about what might have happened. Many jokes are aimed squarely below the belt, forcing cheap laughs. There is hardly a genuine laugh-out-loud moment in this entire movie.

The wolfpack of the original movie were good-natured guys just caught in a bad situation. They are not as likeable now, especially Galifianakis’ Alan, who had a method to his madness then but just acts randomly strange now. Other characters also behave abnormally to situations, only further exposing the lack of any hard work put behind this movie.

As with most Todd Phillips’ movies, The Hangover: Part II is rated R. It is strongly suggested to take this rating very seriously when considering watching this movie. Not just in visuals, but even in language and implications, the movie pushes the envelope of crude entertainment.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

About Shariq Madani

Shariq is a social, talkative, fun-loving guy who enjoys books, food and a long drive. But his real joy is in the comfortable darkness of a cinema, watching a good movie, and later spending hours discussing it.