Directed by: Todd Phillips (Due Date)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong
There’s no use reinventing the wheel, and if it ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it. And if you can make 118 million bucks in four days by putting out a sequel that’s basically the same movie all over again, why take risks with the proven formula? In that respect The Hangover Part II is the worst kind of sequel in that it takes the exact premise, plot and ending of its originator and repackages it in a bigger, shinier budget.
I should probably be more indignant about the sheer laziness and greed on display here, but I can’t for the life of me muster up the wherewithal to give a damn, namely because I simply can’t work up the enthusiasm to care about this movie or its predecessor. Since this is basically The Hangover: The Repurposing, I find this iteration just as painless and just as forgettable as the first Hangover (2009). Maybe even more forgettable this time around, since Part II’s a movie completely awash in a morass of unoriginality.
The film quickly reintroduces the characters from the original: Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married in Thailand, meaning his pals Phil (Bradley Cooper), Doug (Justin Bartha) and—against Stu’s better judgment—the oddball Alan (Zach Galafianakis) all come along to help him celebrate. Stu, still wary of all of the misadventures in Las Vegas in The Hangover, refuses a bachelor party. But some jostling causes him to agree to a small get-together and drinks on the beach with his friends and his fiancee’s wunderkind brother, Teddy (Mason Lee). We then jump forward to the next morning to find Stu, Phil and Alan waking up in a grungy Bangkok hotel room, with no memory of how a few drinks led to this, and no sign of Teddy besides a severed finger with his class ring attached.
The film then turns into the same kind of whodunit as the first, as the boys have to find Teddy before Stu’s wedding by piecing together the preposterous events of the previous night. As in the first film, the humor—in theory—lies in the absurdity of it all, with this film attempting to outdo part one, this time with transgendered prostitutes and a cigarette smoking monkey in a denim vest, among other acts of debauched bizarreness. But is any of it actually funny? That, of course, is a totally subjective matter, and since this is basically the same movie, your feelings towards the first Hangover should be a good barometer. Apart from the nicotine-addicted primate, I never found anything in Part II worth anything more than a chuckle (or perhaps a hauty chortle), with the funniest bit actually being a pretty offensive throwaway gag that pops up over the end credits.
Even with all that, I can’t say I actually actively disliked the film. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I like the main actors. As predictable as Galifianakis’ (supposedly) wacky, random lines have become, he’s still better at delivering them than a lot of comedic actors ever will be. None of this is enough to make me recommend the film, but it’s enough to say you could probably do worse. Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images.