The Hangover Part II
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms
Running Time: 1 hr 42 mins
Release Date: May 26, 2011
PLOT: Stu (Helms) is getting married in Thailand and once again he, Phil (Cooper), and Alan (Galifianakis) black out and try to fit the pieces of the night before back together.
WHO’S IT FOR? Do you want another chance to hang out with these guys? Say no more and get in line. Are you looking for a solid story and some evolving from the characters? Look elsewhere.
EXPECTATIONS: The buzz was bad on this film. Many film critics that I follow on Twitter weren’t pleased with the results. With that said, maybe I lowered my expectations a little bit.
Ed Helms as Stu: It’s his story. Poor Stu. All he wanted was a bachelor brunch. I have no idea how he met his wife Lauren (Jamie Chung) or why he wants to marry her. Her father hates him, calling him soft white rice and many other things during a toast in front of all their friends and family. What Stu begins to realize is he’s got a devil on the inside, and a Mike Tyson face tattoo on the outside. Once the chaos begins, he’s the one in the group who freaks out the most, but not a lot of humor comes from it.
Bradley Cooper as Phil: Again, all signs are that this character and Robert Downey Jr.’s character in Due Date are exaggerations of Todd Phillips. Phil’s also still a dick. He’s willing to steal Stu’s dental prescription pad, yet it seems he stops being a dick whenever it’s necessary for the plot to move along. Besides looking great for the part, it seems they’re having a tough time finding something for Cooper to do. He doesn’t really play the instigator, and he’s not an average joe. At one point Phil gets shot, simply to fill in a few minutes of time.
Zach Galifianakis as Alan: He’s regressed. For a while, it seems like the results of that regression will only be amusing. Alan living like “he never left Las Vegas” is a funny concept. When he’s berating his mother for not getting him a dessert, it’s hilarious. But then you once again wonder why these guys are hanging out with “this guy.” Actually, hanging out is fine, but letting him make speeches and everything that follows makes it tough to tolerate. It’s a roller coaster with Alan, and therefore the entire movie. After all, he can only say “Thigh-land” so many times before it starts getting old. The movie never realizes this. It’s odd to say, but he’s the highlight and low light.
Rest of Cast: Maybe you haven’t, but I’ve hit my limit of Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow and whatever that accent is. Paul Giamatti is a waste as a gangster/businessman of some sort. Mason Lee as Teddy is a story I guess we are supposed to care about, but there doesn’t seem to be the proper conclusion. Justin Bartha once again gets the shaft as Doug. He’s on the outside and eventually his phone conversations get in the way. Notice the women and children. They are considered toss away characters simply there to stand beside their men. Phil has a baby in one scene and a dutiful wife in the next. There is only one cameo to speak of, and I’ll save that for Plot Spoilers down below.
TALKING: The first half of the film has plenty of dialogue that gives way to a lot of little laughs. Eventually it becomes a series of “What’s going on?!” and “It’s happening again!” On paper, a line like, “That monkey gets it,” doesn’t seem that funny, but when Alan is delivering it, it works.
SIGHTS: Thailand is a great setting for the film. Adding a monkey, Chow’s penis and a lady-boy to the mix for a shock factor works as well. When we enter Alan’s mind, we get a glimpse of the night, with children in the lead. It’s a funny slant and probably the only “new” humor the film really has to offer. A car chase? Not so much. A speed boat heading for a wedding party? Again, not so much.
SOUNDS: Heavy rap to just heavy (somber) music. It follows the same path as the first. Kanye West and Johnny Cash are on the soundtrack. “One Night in Bangkok” makes an appearance at the end with a “surprise” singer. Stu does grab a guitar and finds time to change the lyrics to “Allentown.”
BEST SCENE: When the gang wakes up after the forgotten night. One, they’re surprised. Two, a badly shaved head and a face tattoo are funny. Three, I like monkeys. Four, there is a finger, so there’s actually an element of danger.
ENDING: The cameo was from, wait for it, wait for it … Mike Tyson. Can you believe it? Oh yeah, that does make sense. A little too much. Mel Gibson and Bill Clinton were rumored at one point, but no where to be found. You’ll never guess what else, someone captured the crazy night on a camera. The film ends with a slideshow.
QUESTIONS: Why, oh why couldn’t you keep these guys a little more grounded in the real world? I guess I’m mainly thinking of Alan. The guys just don’t have a good enough reason to hang out with him. He should have been banned from the group a couple of times by now.
REWATCHABILITY: I could watch this again, but the second half might start to verge on painful. There just isn’t enough laughs in the latter part of the movie.
The same, but different. That’s what we expect from a sequel. Unfortunately, with The Hangover Part II it really feels like they just replaced the nouns. Instead of a tiger, it’s a monkey. Instead of Las Vegas, it’s Bangkok. Instead of Mr. Chow, it’s Kingsley. It’s amazing the movie feels like a pretty good ride for as long as it does. Once it’s revealed how the threesome ended up blacking out this time around, the amusement seems to vanish. Then the “been there, done that” feeling creeps in. The first time around, The Hangover felt fresh, like something you discovered. Now, it’s impossible to feel like anything is fresh in concept, except the nouns. It doesn’t feel like they (Phillips) analyzed the original, and thought through what worked and didn’t work.
Alan is a very funny character, but I would love to feel like he’s on the team, instead of “accidentally” sabotaging things. Todd Phillips and Zach Galifianakis have created (yes, I’m giving them a little more credit and disapproval) characters that are funny, but shouldn’t be tolerated. Alan is tolerated, just because. The guys don’t have a great reason. I’d love a reason or for Alan to have evolved just a little bit. The Hangover Part II manages to jump the shark, which would have been funny if they were actually jumping a shark. It’s fun to hang out with the boys again, but all of the things that didn’t work in the first film seem amplified. Maybe if I watch this one six more times, it will get funnier. Just like the first, but I doubt it.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10