The Hangover Part II

I went into The Hangover Part II knowing that it had a “rotten” rating of 31% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I didn’t think much of it. The criticism was pretty standard across the board: The Hangover Part II follows the exact same story beats as the original. It’s formulaic, most critics sneered. I didn’t have a problem with that though: a film being “formulaic” isn’t necessarily bad (just look at the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech and The Fighter). The Hangover Part II is bad not because it’s formulaic, but because it’s lazy.

Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis – the breakout star of the original and the only reason to watch this one) are back for another night of memory-losing debauchery. This time, Stu’s the one getting married in Thailand and he refuses to have a bachelor party after the events of the first film (he opts for a bachelor brunch instead). Nonetheless, the boys go out for “one beer” on the beach, with Teddy, Stu’s sixteen year old soon-to-be brother-in-law, in tow. The next morning, the guys wake up in a grungy Bangkok hotel room with Teddy missing.

Yes, it’s exactly the same as The Hangover (Part I?). The only problem with this iteration is that the scenarios the characters find themselves in are neither memorable nor filled with endlessly quotable dialogue (I.e “It’s called a satchel” or “Is this the real Caesar’s Palace?). I’m not sure what will be the classic scenes in this one. Perhaps the scene that takes place in a strip club where Stu learns a horrifying truth. Or maybe the gimmicky drug-dealing monkey that wears a Rolling Stones jacket and smokes cigarettes. It won’t be Mr. Chow though. He’s a funny character in small doses, irritating otherwise.

The Hangover Part II isn’t able to capture the magic of the first one, probably because the cast and crew isn’t sure what made the first so successful in the first place. It wasn’t seeing more full frontal nudity from Mr. Chow or following the same formula as the original. It definitely wasn’t ripping entire lines from the original as a wink to fans (just guess what the line is when a phone filled with pictures of the night before is found).

Stu got his bachelor brunch all right. This film is as bland and unfulfilling as a pancake breakfast at IHOP.

Grade: C-


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