Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: The Hangover Part II

Grade: D+

Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug are back and it’s been a couple years after Doug’s infamous bachelor party in Las Vegas. Now Stu is getting ready to get married to his new fiancée, Lauren, in Thailand, where most of her family lives. Stu has every intention of keeping this event as low key and calm as possible, so much so that he has reduced his “bachelor party” down to a brunch with Phil and Doug and he has not invited Alan to the wedding. However, Doug’s wife convinces Stu to allow Alan to come along. However, a couple nights before the wedding, the four guys, along with Lauren’s younger brother, Teddy, decide to have a drink on the beach next to a bonfire. Phil, Stu and Alan wake up the next morning in a mysterious, grungy hotel room somewhere in Bangkok and Teddy has gone missing. The gang must retrace their steps in order to find Teddy before the wedding and hope that Lauren’s father doesn’t find out.

The Hangover Part II is, of course, the sequel to the original, great and hilarious Hangover a couple years back. They announced this sequel shortly after The Hangover hit theaters and exploded at the box office. I wanted so bad for this movie to be just as good, or at least nearly as good. I went into this theater with hope that it would be decent. I was let down. Sadly, if you have seen The Hangover, you have seen Part II already. This movie hits ALL of the exact same notes that the first one did. It seems as though writer/director Todd Phillips simply took the script from the first movie and changed the location to Thailand. Both movies start with Phil calling Doug’s wife to explain they won’t make it to the wedding, both have the night start out with the group making a toast, both have them wake up in a hotel room with an odd animal that is integral to the story and what happened the night before, both include Stu being disfigured in some way, both have Stu singing a song, both involve Phil going to the hospital, basically, both movies are the same movie. Because of this, Part II is extremely predictable and the jokes are tired because we’ve seen them before. The only thing new that Part II brings to the table is some stereotypical (and borderline racist at times) Thailand joke.

The movie stars Bradley Cooper (The A-Team, Limitless) as Phil, the “cool” one of the group. I really like Cooper and he is pretty consistently funny and I would like to say that he was funny in this, but sadly as I mentioned before, he was just recycling old jokes. Ed Helms (Cedar Rapids, TVs The Office) plays the role of Stu, the straight laced one who is now getting married. Ed Helms managed to be pretty funny in this movie, his over the top reactions can really be hilarious. Zack Galifianakis (Due Date, It’s Kind of a Funny Story) plays the role of Alan, the dumb one. Galifianakis is absolutely hilarious but in this movie, it was almost too much. His character worked in the first one because he was essentially just tagging along and would randomly pipe in and say or do something funny, in Part II I feel they tried to make him more of a leading man and his character really only works in those small doses. Justin Bartha (National Treasure, Holly Rollers) plays the role of Dough, the one left out. I really like Bartha and think that he can be absolutely hilarious given the right opportunity and it makes me sad that, once again, he was not given that opportunity in this movie. In the first movie, he is the one that is lost the whole time and in Part II, he is fine and back at the resort with everyone else. The movie also features Ken Jeong, Jeffrey Tambor, Mason Lee, Jamie Chung, Sasha Barrese, Nick Cassavetes and more including an awesome cameo which I don’t want to spoil because it was one of the more thoroughly enjoyable parts of the movie.

The Hangover Part II is sadly mostly recycled jokes from the first movie and it really just feels like and excuse for Todd Phillips and crew to go on vacation in Thailand for a month or so. There was nothing original in this movie and because of that, none of the jokes were really all that funny. They tried to push the envelope in a couple areas but really just ended up creating some awkward and just plain gross moments. Prediction: they will be announcing a third one soon that will take place in Amsterdam.

Great quote: “Are you serious Phil? Even back in the U.S.?”

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