The Hangover Part II Review
by Bret Dorman
Back in 2009, The Hangover came out of nowhere. It was a silly over the top comedy filtered through an MTv Soundtrack and shot like its main characters were famous rap stars. It was a refreshing sort of comedy that was both quirky and cool, and most of all Rated R. A comedy that places (somewhat) normal people in extraordinary circumstances and the fun comes from watching them get out of it and go crazy afterwards.
The Hangover Part II is the exact same thing only now everyone is expecting it and it isn’t as refreshing.
One of the things about sequels is you want to raise the stakes. You want to find a way to tell a new story but appeal to fans of the first. The Hangover Part II is inappropriately named Part II, when in fact a more apt title would have been The Hangover (Bangkok Remix). So much of The Hangover owes its coolness to top 40/club music and shooting its locations and character entrances like they were about to perform a concert (See ‘Teaser Trailer’ below). Why not play that up in the title as well?
I don’t mind a sequel that hits the same paces as the first, with the same characters, but there are only so many times you can use the “Why is this happening to us?”/”How did you guys do this… AGAIN?!” joke. And yet that seems to be the entire movie. None of the characters have changed, with the exception of Galifiankis, who seems meaner for some unknown reason and more likely to throw out random jokes for the sake of random jokes. At times its hard to tell if he is being his character or just running through stand up material.
The main character and central focus of this movie is Ed Helms, who is the ‘voice of reason’ during the-day-after mayhem (while maybe being the most out of control during). But his character never goes through any arch. I mean, the whole time he just whines and complains and says “I did that?!” and cries, and then at the end he makes a rousing “We’re awesome!” speech that just comes out of left field. I would have been more interested in seeing him have to step up and take over or release some of his ‘inner demon’ during his non-drug induced state.
The best character, in my opinion, is Bradley Cooper. He always manages to keep level headed… maybe because nothing bad ever happens to him. He is like some sort of accidental-drug-induced-crazy-party-night-black-out-wake-up-the-next-day-memory-wiped-clean Legendary Expert. For having a wife (who doesn’t talk much at all) and kids, he still acts like a frat boy at heart. He’s rude and crude, but exactly the kind of man you want to have when going through these crazy events.
The sad part is, the first one was a light hearted three guys bonding over a crazy night in Vegas that did go a little too far and to get their friend back they have to go a little bit further. The second, takes place in Bangkok, and is a light hearted three guys who are already friends who went a little too far and kind of go back to get their friend back. I think it would have been really interesting and daring if instead of making this a light hearted comedy, they made it a really dark comedy. Seeing the same characters get into the same mess is fun in spurts for this movie because its done in the exact same tone. But seeing the same characters get into the same mess but change the tone and you have a more disturbing movie that is also refreshing and more rewarding.
Also, for them being in Bangkok, maybe one of the ‘scummiest’ places in the world by reputation, they really don’t get into anything too bad. I mean, everything they did here could have been done in Vegas. It would have been nice if they had to confront the people of the previous night and pretend like that was how they always acted, like it was all part of some plan. But instead they just go into each scenario like “Hey we were REALLY drunk last night can you help us? [crazy thing happens] WOAH! Run away!!!”
It will be interesting to see where this ‘franchise’ goes. First they went to Vegas, then Bangkok. How can you top that? Where can they go next… The Moon?
In Conclusion, The Hangover Part II is fun in the exact same way the first one was. Is a lot of set up to a crazy night and then comedy set piece after comedy set piece. Some of the natural spark is gone but replaced by more ‘out of left field’ jokes.
Final Grade: C+