The Hangover: Part II (2011)


Life has gone back to normal for Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis). Since their Vegas misadventure, Phil has had a kid, Stu is set to re-marry and Alan is back living with his parents. Invited out to Thailand for the wedding, the friends (and Alan) reunite for a quiet drink on the beach with Stu’s prospective brother in law, Teddy. One fastforward later, our heroes awake in a trashed Bangkok apparently with no memory of the night before. With ties to a nearby monastery, a tattoo parlour and a gangster-run strip joint, the trio must once again retrace their steps if they are going to find Teddy, get back in time for the wedding and put another hangover behind them.

Before we get underway, there is one small matter we should probably address first, lest anyone imagine I’ve started throwing out popcorn pieces to anything that makes me laugh (though, in the world of comedy, is that really an invalid measure of quality?), namely that The Hangover: Part II isn’t as good as the celebrated original. It just isn’t.

The problems are many, with the extent to which the original has entered the public consciousness following its considerable success exacerbating the loss of originality that inevitably comes with filming a sequel, overburdening The Hangover: Part II with a stifling sense of deja-vu. The need to outdo their previous effort is evident from the off, with the original structure intact it is impossible not to draw comparisons, with every plot point and set piece having a comparative parallel. While this is milked for humour – often to pant-wetting effect – it renders the movie strangely redundant. Lost in a foreign city and robbed of all memory of the night before, Bradley Cooper’s assurances that “you know the drill” bestow proceedings with a repetitiveness far beyond the franchise’s two instalment.

The film never escapes its predecessor’s shadow as the filmmakers resurrect anything and everything that might have made the original work. As Chow, Mike Tyson and the obligatory tryst with the law are shoehorned in, the sequel never really finds an identity of its own. While the 2008 original enjoyed an easy escalation that tempered its contrivances with a hysterical air of disbelief, Part II has a forced air of a studio eager to duplicate the box office success of another film. As a result, the movie goes on one machination too long, the creative strain to keep our heroes in Bangkok jarringly close to the surface. For me, however, it was the pushing of Alan that came nearest to derailing the entire film, with Zach Galifianakis’ intervening success granting him a (painfully) larger role and instantly compromising my enjoyment of the film at large. Needless to say, the other characters apprehension at taking Alan along was shared tenfold.

The Hangover: Part II was no Due Date (read: disaster), however, and I found myself drowning in a constant state of hysterics. I spent entire scenes gasping for breath as Phil and Stu watched their lives spiral out of control, struggling to account for how it might have happened again. From the hotel room revelations to the carefully planted plot resolution, the film managed to wrangle new laughter from the same jokes, all the while increasing the scale and extent of the carnage. I am no fan of comedy – after “the sports movie” it is probably my least favourite genre, prone as it is to being about as funny as algebra – but The Hangover franchise continues to prove an exception to the rule. As the credits roll and the assorted photos from the night before flash up on screen, it is impossible to dwell on mere deja vu.

Too much Alan, a monkey that can’t die soon enough and crippling lack of originality may rob The Hangover: Part II of greatness, but there is enough wit, innovation and incredulity to save this first sequel from feeling like a hangover in itself.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

2 Responses to The Hangover: Part II (2011)

  1. Pingback: May 2011 – I’m killing ‘em, I’m killing ‘em straight. « popcornaddict

  2. Pingback: Fails of the Year – 2011 « popcornaddict

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