Review: The Hangover Part II

The Hangover Part II (2011)
102 minutes
Rated – R
Directed by Todd Phillips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms

Grade:  C

Whenever a sequel comes out after a highly successful original film, you’re forced to ask yourself, “Does this really need a sequel?” While critics scratched their heads at the news that there would be a second installment to 2009’s comedy super-hit The Hangover, it simply made sense to the studios and the cast involved. If a movie exceeds all expectations, especially in the box office, there is bound to be a sequel. But no matter what, the sequel will be compared to the original.

That being in mind, the creators of The Hangover stuck with the same exact formula that worked so well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? The premise for The Hangover was very smart and allowed the writers to throw the Wolfpack into zany situations to stir the audience with laughter. But as a sequel, I expected the film to progress from the original formula and transcend the jokes. Instead, they used the same “We messed up” opening, then a flashback to the wedding preparations, to the morning after where the characters wake up without a memory from the night before, and then the adventure they go on to piece back together their night and find the missing friend.

Because neither of the Hangover films rely on plotline, there’s no need to give a brief recap on the story. The only thing worth discussing are the jokes used in the film, and there are a lot. Transferring the setting from Las Vegas to Bangkok, the Wolfpack goes bonkers on the city. Bouncing between strip clubs, tattoo parlors, hospitals, and sleezy hotel rooms, Part II goes bigger in the area of ground covered throughout their night, but nothing else. The jokes are as raunchy, offensive, and crude just as the first. Alan (Galifianakis) has dozens of one-liners to chuckle at. But at the end, I felt tired from the midadventure I was just taken along on.

The flaws from Part II are basically the same flaws from The Hangover. It’s impossible to think of the characters as realistic since they never have to pay consequences for any of their actions. And the chaos always gets tied together at the end all too neatly. Apparently, all Stu had to do what stand up for himself to the father-in-law and all of a sudden he’s fine with the marriage (despite the boat on the lawn, Stu sporting a tattoo on his face and blood splattered over his close, and returning Teddy without a finger that will surely affect his musical talent along with his dream to be a surgeon). I know I’m not supposed to think too much about these things, but no matter how over-the-top a film is, I do expect a certain level of reality.

Overall, The Hangover Part II is an enjoyable film with plenty of gags and jokes for those who liked the first movie. If you’re not a fan of crude humor, then this is not your film. There is no plot, no character depth (Bradley Cooper could’ve been written off the script and the movie wouldn’t have suffered one bit), and nothing to feel good about this film. If you go into this film like I did (with no expectations at all), then you’ll walk out of the theater pleased with the end product. Where till the Wolfpack hit next? Amsterdam?

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