The extremely popular Hangover franchise (I call it a franchise because I fully expect a Part III in a couple years) is back with another wedding and more drug-induced male debauchery.
Unfortunately, Part II is missing the unexpected and unpredictable elements that made the first movie so enjoyable. There was only one moment that really took me by surprise, and that’s only because I had not read anything about the movie before going in. I won’t spoil the moment here in my review, but the shocking part is being discussed/questioned all over the Internet.
If you need a recap, it’s been two years since the wolf pack of Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) had a night to remember in Las Vegas (even though they couldn’t actually recall anything the next morning).
One thing was certain … their buddy and the groom-to-be Doug (Justin Bartha) was missing just hours before his wedding. So the guys went on a wild goose chase, uncovering all sorts of mayhem that happened the night before along the way.
So what is different in Part II you ask? Basically, just the locale and the groom. This time, the guys are in Thailand for Stu’s wedding to the extremely forgiving Lauren (Jamie Chung).
The wild Chow (Ken Jeong) is still around, still annoying and still showing more unclothed body parts than I would have liked to see. Chow’s up to no good and the bad guys are on his tail. Sound familiar? And Mike Tyson — yep, he’s back too with more bad singing.
I felt like the writers (Craig Mazin, Scott Armstrong) and writer/director Todd Phillips awkwardly worked in Alan’s presence this time. Because really, let’s face it, would you want to travel overseas with the creepy guy that drugged you during your last get together? Yeah, me neither.
Also, it often felt like the writers took the first script and did a lot of cutting and pasting to it, instead of coming up with a new one. Delete Vegas, insert Thailand. Delete tiger, insert monkey. Delete baby, insert monk. You get the gist.
Another problem is that a lot of people can relate to going to Vegas, having a wild time and maybe not remembering some of it. Thailand’s not your everyday getaway. There is a heavy focus on sex workers and Buddhists, who are depicted (stereotyped?) as the norm.
The plot mostly follows Stu, a dentist whose soon-to-be father-in-law compares to white rice, i.e. bland. Stu is perfectly happy with a bachelor brunch, but his buddies convince him to come out and have a beer on the beach. Also tagging along is Jamie’s college-age brother Teddy (Mason Lee). The guys wake up the next morning in a disgusting Bangkok room and notice Teddy is missing, having left an essential appendage behind as the only clue to what happened the previous night.
For the most part, the guys seem to be playing themselves. Galifianakis still gets all the best lines. Helms is once again the punch line to the most unfortunate jokes.
I can’t deny there are many laughs, with the biggest guffaws coming during the end credits’ photo montage. Overall, with The Hangover Part II, there is definitely a letdown and a feeling of “this is the best they could come up with for the sequel?”
Movie Grade: B-