The Hangover Part II Directed by: Todd Phillips Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti Running Time: 1 hr 42 mins Rating: R Release Date: May 26, 2011
This is a "Seen It" review. You've seen it. I've seen it. That means all plot points and spoilers are fair game and will be discussed. The only reason to read this review is if you have already watched the film, or never plan on seeing it, but for some reason, you'd like to know what TSR thought about it. We walk you through the key moments in the film, adding in our thoughts along the way. You've been warned.
PLOT: On the night before Stu's (Helms) wedding in Thailand, the Wolfpack (also including Cooper and Galifianakis) find themselves hungover and in big trouble in the city of Bangkok.
Movie: “It happened again.” The Wolfpack find themselves in a new hell, and apparently things are more screwed up than they were before. Thoughts by TSR: Lead in by Jenny Lewis’ “Bad Man’s World," The Hangover Part II starts off its first scene by looking a bit recognizable. But it’s okay. After all, Bond movies all start the same, so this was just going to be the franchise's shtick. Okay, Hangover. Let’s do this.
Movie: It’s a week earlier. Stu keeps it safe and has his “bachelor’s brunch” at IHOP, Alan is invited to the wedding to reluctance of practically everyone else, and the Wolfpack earns a new member, Teddy, to Alan’s dismay. Thoughts by TSR: I must admit, The Hangover Part IIwas off to a semi-giggly start. The concept of Stu having a “Bachelor Brunch” is increasingly funny to me, and the random pictures that are on Alan’s wall were amusing throughout. When Galifianakis’ character is re-introduced in the movie, he is talked about like some beast – as if the characters in the movie are aware that Alan stole the show of The Hangover and never gave it back. The script knows this too, and it gets desperate to put Alan back on his pedestal of wackiness, with Alan injecting himself with needles.
Movie: The Wolfpack arrives in Thailand. Alan gives an awkward speech about useless Thailand facts, Stu’s future father-in-law compares him to mushy rice, and the guys have one final drink on the beach before going to bed. Thoughts by TSR: This scene stands as a fair resemblance of the overall experience of The Hangover: Part II. The movie tries hard to be amusing with its randomness (Alan’s speech), but more often than not it can be dark and kind of … mean (the speech by the future father-in-law).
Movie: Psyche! The Wolfpack doesn’t wake up in their Thai resort, but a seedy hotel in Bangkok. Mr. Chow (Jeong) is in the room, but dies before he can divulge the true story. Thoughts by TSR: What’s up with Phil’s luck? Why does he always get off so easily? Alan loses his hair, but not his beard (otherwise viewers wouldn’t recognize him). And how does Jeong get away with playing Chow so crudely? This is some Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's like bullsh*t. I did laugh when Chow fell headfirst into the glass table, and that marked the last laugh I had with this movie until the end. It was nice knowing you, fun.
Movie: A few clues lead the Wolfpack to a police station, where they pick up a silent monk who definitely isn’t Teddy. After a brief cameo by Nick Cassavetes, the men go to a monastery with their monk friend in search of answers. Thoughts by TSR: Alan’s “monkey nibbling on water bottle penis” joke doesn’t do it for me. Stu screaming “f**k the police!” in a video isn’t funny. Once again, The Hangover franchise continues to prove that it’s probably even funnier the less you are exposed to wild humor (for example: see “Naked Asian Man Pops Out Of Trunk in The Hangover). "Oh haha! Alan just thought this monastery was a P.F Changs!"
Movie: Alan’s meditation reveals the next location on their journey. At the strip club, Alan accidentally fires an Uzi machine gun into the air, Stu finds out he had sex with a transvestite, and Phil gets grazed with a bullet after their monkey is taken away. Thoughts by TSR: The expression on Stu’s face shortly after leaving the strip club almost made me laugh. It’s a nice combination between choking back tears and trying to keep his mouth from ever opening up to anything again. And still, what’s with Phil’s luck? He gets grazed with a bullet, and then it’s brushed off like no big deal. This scene is an example of the movie taking its humor to violent ends, while making Bangkok look less like Las Vegas Pt. 2 but more like one of Dante’s lower rings of Hell in “The Inferno.”
Movie: The Wolfpack meet up Peters (Giamatti), a business partner of Chow. He yells at them and says he doesn't have Teddy, the Wolfpack rides a boat back to the hotel (in which Stu plays a song), and then Chow pops out of the freezer. Thoughts by TSR: Was Giamatti hired simply because he can yell like a pro? Was Philip Seymour Hoffman not interested? Did he see too deep into the movie’s plagiarism? Perhaps Hoffman said something like, “You realize this isn’t symmetry, right? This is just stealing from yourself.” A good indicator of how this movie does with audiences compared to the first one: In the original, it seemed like everyone loved Stu’s musical interlude. Here, the laughs were light, even though the movie tried hard to make the song all about Alan (and using “Allentown” by Billy Joel).
Movie: Because it has the codes on his vest, the monkey is retrieved through a relatively useless car chase. After the monkey gets shot, they drop it off at the vet. Alan says, “I wish monkeys could Skype.” Thoughts by TSR: Sigh. Nothing too much to say here, except things are looking even uglier. A car chase has no adrenaline to it, Stu’s “What’s going on!!!” expressions are losing their effect, and Alan’s randomness in dialogue is wearing very thin. And why is no one from the wedding party calling them? How can events so crazy seem dull?
Movie: Psyche! Peters is a cop, and Chow is arrested. They don’t have Teddy; he could actually be dead. But soon after they call it quits, Stu has a eureka moment about the electricity in the hotel - Teddy’s in the elevator. Thoughts by TSR: Once again, the audience feels kind of stupid. I’ll give it to you, Hangover Part II, I wasn’t able to catch onto your trick until it was too late. Congratulations on distracting me from what should have been painfully obvious, though your tactics of such distraction could have been much more enjoyable. Stu’s previous “I have a demon in me” speech is a little amusing. Poor guy though. The guy can’t stay truthful to his fiancées because he has a thing for prostitutes of all types? Is that funny?
Movie: The Wolfpack + Teddy take Chow’s speedboat to get to the ceremony on time. Stu stands up to his future father-in-law, Alan makes another weird speech, and Mike Tyson sings. Then, the pictures from the night before are revealed. Thoughts by TSR: I never thought that hearing Mike Tyson sing could be so disappointing. The man’s voice is perfect for desecrating songs, and I didn’t laugh one bit. I did laugh at Alan’s “Yes, he does have semen in him” line, which was gross but a tad clever. Still, the damage had been done. After sitting through the disappointing events of this movie, I was ready for some answers in the pictures, and then I was ready for it all to be over.
With both its plot points and its gags, this movie attempts to cover up its redundancies by purporting them a form of symmetry. Chow’s popping out gag is used once again, and is just one example of many where the movie isn’t just winking at its audience, but continuing to reveal how limited the joke palette is here. Though Todd Phillips probably wishes he could suck out the comedian’s brains and turn him into his comedy slave, Galifianakis is the movie’s last hope, and the film’s squeezing of him for lines usually turns for naught. A moment of silence for all the misquoted quotes on Twitter and failed faddy t-shirt designs that will be no more.
Extremely gluttonous with its cannibalism, The Hangover Part II doesn’t feel like it’s just the second part. No, this one is much more devoid than we could imagine an immediate follow-up to a success like The Hangover to be. Even Wayne’s World 2 feels more inventive. This one is much more like the “Hey Guys, Remember How Much You Enjoyed This Stuff?” that makes unsatisfying sequels later down a franchise’s road so forgettable. Maybe if this were The Hangover Part VII, it wouldn’t feel so sobering.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10