Hangover: Part II (2011) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Hangover: Part II (2011)

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One year, you decide to take a vacation with your friends.  On this vacation, you had a great time.  It was exciting, full of laughs and everyone remarked how they couldn’t remember the last time they had that much fun.  So next year, you and your friends plan to do the exact same thing to recapture all the good times.  Yet, no one is enjoying his or her time much at all.   Everyone panics and starts trying to overcompensate.  The events are given an extreme polish to try to sap some new fun to the weekend. Instead of hiking, you go white water rafting, instead of staying in and having a relaxing night, all the friends decide to go to a club.  These changes do not help and by the end of the vacation, everyone is miserable, ready to go home and bewildered as to why it just wasn’t that much fun.  This 2nd vacation perfectly describes The Hangover: Part II, a movie drenched in flop sweat and unrealized potential.

Time has passed since the events of the first movie and the characters have moved on with life.  Phil (Bradley Cooper) has had a second kid with the wife, Stu (Ed Helms) is about to be married to his soul mate and Doug (Justin Bartha) is happily married and expecting his first child soon.  They are all getting ready to travel down to Thailand for Stu’s wedding when Doug pleads with Stu to invite Alan (Zach Galifianakis) along with them.  Alan is still calling them the wolfpack and considers the four of them to be best friends.  Although Stu knows better, he finally relents and invites Alan to the wedding.  After a mean spirited and awkward dinner reception with the future in-laws, the wolfpack, along with the fiancé’s brother Teddy (Mason Lee) go down to the beach to have one beer by a bonfire.

This scene was not funny and just mean spirited for no good reason.

Cut to next morning and Phil wakes up in a seedy hotel in Bangkok, once again having no idea where he is or how he got there.  He soon finds Alan, who is equally as bewildered, and Stu who is freaking out even before he sees his brand new face tattoo.  After learning that Doug is back at the resort the only person missing is Teddy, who has vanished and left only one ominous clue behind, his severed finger.  Once again the wolfpack have to piece together the nights events (this time they do it with the help of a chain smoking monkey) so that they can find Teddy “before Bangkok takes him”.

Many jokes have been made at this movies expense already by calling it a remake and not a sequel since most of the “jokes” are recycled from the first film.  The fact that the movie does take a very similar pattern and reuses many jokes does not bug me as much as the feeling that the whole movie was forced into existence not for any reason other than the first movie made a ton of money.   The film feels very unnecessary and gives the vibe of just “going through the motions.”  While the first film was something different and had an interesting mystery along with a great pace and hilarious jokes, everything about the sequel felt forced.

It had to be evident to the creators of the film that the film as it was just didn’t work because the only differences between part I and II is The Hangover II has more vulgarity and a darkness that the first one did not.  It is a common trope in films to “add” things to a flagging franchise to make them feel fresh but I can not remember a film having to do this before the second movie was even made.

The one addition to the movie, a monkey

The seedy/dirty side of Thailand has replaced Vegas as the setting of the film to make it feel “fresh”.  This does not add anything to the movie other than making the audience members want to take a shower.  Beloved characters from the first movie that should have no part in a sequel are shoehorned into the film awkwardly and only add to the running time.  More sex jokes, nudity and gross humor are thrown in this time and not for the reason as it was funny but to shock the viewer so they hopefully would forget this emperor has no clothes.

The actors in the film are left with little to do but repeat their performances from the first movie and react to the crazy happenings in the film. No character has changed for the better and Bradley Cooper’s role could have been made from deleted scenes from the first film because he has changed so little. Zach Galifianakis’ Alan isn’t as funny this time around and his character verges on the tragic and I found him more sad to watch than funny.  The one person they tried to give a character arc to was Stu, and his “I have a demon in me” whining was nothing but stale and ridiculous.

The first Hangover was a hilarious film that caught the movie going audience by surprise.  I know 18 year olds all the way to my parents in their 60’s that found that film funny.  I would be surprised if many of them (especially anyone a little older) would find much to like about the sequel.  In the end, The Hangover II is the shallow, mean spirited, ugly cousin to the first film.  I believe with the talent involved with this series there is a good sequel to be made; it just sure as hell wasn’t this one.

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Posted by Ryan

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