Hangover Part II, The (2011)
Release Date: May 26th, 2011 MPAA Rating: R
Director: Todd Phillips Actors: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Jamie Chung, Sasha Barrese
he Hangover Part II” offers another dose of debauched misadventures from the “wolf pack” of comedians sure to please those hungering for more after the original film. A familiar blend of severity and silliness returns to keep the proceedings entertaining, if not a little too serious. Personal injuries and drug-fueled antics don’t exactly lose their edge after a few one-liners attempt to obscure their gravity; and all of Zach Galifianakis’ scatterbrained outbursts can’t counteract the repulsiveness of the film’s cruder moments. If the film’s primary mission was to top its predecessor in shock value, it succeeded. We’re not sure if that’s a compliment or not.
On the eve of Stu’s (Ed Helms) wedding in Thailand, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Doug (Justin Bartha), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) convince the normally mild-mannered dentist to join them for one last drink on the beach. When the group of friends awaken the next morning in Bangkok with no memory of the previous night’s transgressions and discover that the bride’s younger brother Teddy (Mason Lee) is now missing, they must once again retrace their footsteps to locate the vanished youth and return Stu in time for his wedding. But when their exploration leads them to vengeful gangsters, cigarette-smoking monkeys, and the return of an old criminal kingpin, remembering their drunken mishaps will be the first thing they’ll want to forget.
Although it’s touted as a sequel and dubbed “Part II,” this follow-up to the hugely successful previous comedy is almost more of a remake. The similarities between the two are abundant, starting with an identical cast, the very same story, a matching tone, equal servings of bawdiness and mayhem, familiar male exposure (what happened to the days of gratuitous female nudity?), a loudly intrusive soundtrack, and all sorts of bodily fluids. The trio’s reaction to unexpected events, panicky situations, mysterious acquaintances, contraband, drugs, and unnaturally forgiving wives remains on par with the original as well. If the formula works and fans are itching for more, “stick with it,” the filmmakers clearly note.
“I can’t believe this is happening again!” screams Stu in a grimy Bangkok alley. “The Hangover Part II” brings spontaneity to new heights, despite its recycled plot, especially with its interest in severe dilemmas. Lighthearted humor is reserved almost entirely for Zach Galifianakis, who once again steals the show with his wildly eccentric, disturbingly idiosyncratic, stay-at-home son personality and disregard for safety, propriety, and poise. The rest is a blend of darkly comical misadventures ranging from disquieting to shocking to downright abhorrent. At every turn the trio is assaulted with violence, questionable pharmaceuticals, threats, filth, sexual deviance, and visual nastiness, making the experience a rarer form of comedy, a successful box office venture (based on the first film’s $44 million opening), and even a critical winner (landing the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy). Too bad this sequel is likely to be panned for the rather ignorant approach to Thailand, a racial error “Sex and the City 2” couldn’t escape.
– The Massie Twins