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Movie Review: The Hangover Part II

May 26, 2011

The Hangover Part II – A Warner Bros. Pictures’ Release

http://hangoverpart2.warnerbros.com/

Release Date: May 26th, 2011

Rated 18A for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images

Running time: 102 minutes

Todd Phillips (dir.)

Craig Mazin (writer)

Scot Armstrong (writer)

Todd Phillips (writer)

Christophe Beck (music)

Bradley Cooper as Phil

Ed Helms as Stu

Zach Galifianakis as Alan

Justin Bartha as Doug

Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow

Paul Giamatti as Kingsley

Mason Lee as Teddy

Jamie Chung as Lauren

©Warner Bros. Pictures.  Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon

(L-r) Ed Helms as Stu, Bradley Cooper as Phil and Zach Galifianakis as Alan in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ comedy The Hangover Part II, a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Our reviews below:

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The Hangover Part II Review By John C.

*1/2 (out of 4)

In the summer of 2009, director Todd Phillips’ The Hangover came out of practically nowhere and instantly became a classic.  The film unfolded like a brilliant mystery, turning the genre of raunchy comedies on its head with a smart and original look at why what happens in Las Vegas must stay in Vegas.  I wish I could say the same good things about this Bangkok-set sequel, which feels like nothing but a vulgar rehashing of the original.  Needless to say, the surprise is gone and has been replaced by a nastier tone and copious amounts of raunchy humour.

Where to begin?  Generally mild-mannered dentist Stu (Ed Helms) is engaged to be married overseas in Thailand to Lauren (Jamie Chung), and his plans for a bachelor brunch are upstaged by Phil’s (Bradley Cooper) wish for another raucous stag party before the big wedding.  The naïve breakout star of the original film, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is also along for the ride, but this time is dangerously jealous of Lauren’s 16-year-old brother, Teddy (Mason Lee).  Needless to say, Teddy goes missing and it’s up to the “Wolfpack” to bring him back.

To be fair, there are some laughs to be had in The Hangover Part II, including a few brief flashes that allude to the greatness of the original.  But it isn’t anywhere near as funny as it could or should have been, with a lot of the humour dulled by predictability and the often mean tone of the script.  Although Galifianakis is still able to deliver a few hilarious lines of dialogue, his innocent and likable character from the first film is unfortunately portrayed here as more unstable and sometimes even creepy.

In general, this is a meaner and nastier film than the 2009 original, with less heart and a lot of the seedier elements of Bangkok disturbingly used for supposed laughs.  Certain scenes take things wildly too far, including a trip to a strip club that ends with a shocking conclusion and an album of pictures over the end credits that I’m utterly surprised even made it past the ratings board.  A flashback sequence to the night before that portrays the partying as done by kids is disturbing and entirely out-of-place, sure to garner controversy and not many laughs from the majority of audiences.

The Hangover Part 2 is ultimately nothing more than a mediocre sequel to a great comedy, often feeling like a knock-off to an actual product.  The few genuine laughs it does provide simply aren’t in constant enough supply, and some of the supposed humour is actually offensive and disturbing.  I wanted to like this sequel as much as I did the original, but there simply isn’t enough good stuff here to warrant buying a ticket.

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The Hangover: Part II Review by Erin V.  

** (out of 4)

This time Stu’s (Ed Helms) getting married to Lauren (Jamie Chung), and the wedding is taking place in her native Thailand.  Once there, of course Stu’s old friends have a bachelor party for him, which gets out of hand and they wake up in an unknown hotel room in Bangkok – with a missing finger, a missing guy (bride’s 16-year-old brother this time instead of groom, which already weakens the plot since having a missing groom really means no wedding), a monkey, etc.  Sound familiar?  Yes, it’s The Hangover all over again (with minor, darker changes).

As I heard someone say as they were exiting the theatre, ‘I just don’t get how they could get away with making the same movie twice.’  Well, that’s Hollywood for you – made again, lower quality.  The original Hangover worked because it changed from the regular formula… the problem is, now it’s become its own formula.  That’s not to say you won’t laugh in spite of yourself or find something memorable to talk about on the way home, but ultimately, when held up to its predecessor, The Hangover: Part II tells essentially the same story, darker, while changing its main characters just enough to make them less likable.

Alan (Zach Galiafinakis) borders more on disturbed this time around, and both Stu and Phil (Bradley Cooper) are dumber and have lost a lot of their charm.  The characters do things that they wouldn’t have in the original, because two years ago, they were played on a more relatable level.  Yes, The Hangover was crazy, but oddly it was relatable, there was a satisfactory payoff, and an intelligent mystery for us all to enjoy.  This doesn’t feel as much mystery solving as just sheer dumb luck putting the pieces back together for them.  The writing is not as clean on the plot points, there are often needless scenes, and the credit pictures are much worse.

The whole film is also a lot more hectic and messy, like we’re not even quite at the hangover stage yet.  Not only that, but since its essentially a bad copy, even the time-constraint of trying to figure things out in time to get to the wedding, ring false – we know how it’s going to play out.  Coming out of the first film, you kick yourself for not figuring out where the missing man is – here, it feels like even if you didn’t guess it, it’s because there’s nothing concrete leading up to it.  Overall, there are enough differences from the first one that you will get a few surprises, but even if you don’t know how they are going to play out, the first one will give you definite inklings as to what’s coming up next on-screen.

There could have been potential to write another good story with these characters, but instead we just get a low-level rehashing, capitalizing on the success of the first one.  In short, it’s got nothing compared to the original.

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The Hangover Part II Review by Nicole

*1/2 (out of 4)

Sometimes when you try to copy a great film, it just doesn’t work.  The first Hangover was funny and intelligent, making it one of the best recent comedies.  In the sequel, Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married for real this time.  Since his fiance, Lauren (Jamie Chung) is from Thailand, he and the “wolf pack” get Lauren’s 16-year-old brother Teddy (Mason Lee) drunk and drugged, only to lose him in Bangkok.  The whole film revolves around trying to get him back alive.

What worked in the first Hangover movie was the sheer naïveté of the characters, particularly Alan (Zach Galifianakis).  In this sequel, Alan is vindictive, even bordering on psychopathic.  The same can be said for this film.  Much of the “humour” is nothing short of disturbing, revolving around “jokes” pertaining to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and borderline pornographic images.

One of the most disturbing scenes involves a daydream sequence in which Alan imagines the “wolfpack”as a bunch of 12-year-olds engaging in debauchery.  However, this is only mildly shocking, considering that the whole premise of this film is about supposedly mature adults getting an underage individual into trouble.  The only sweet and likable character here is Crystal the Monkey (Night at the Museum).  But controversy was even raised here, due to the false idea of a monkey being given cigarettes.  Despite the fact that this film has no disclaimer during the end credits, no real cigarettes were ever smoked by the monkey.

With all of the film’s dark moments, I would recommend people skip The Hangover Part II and rewatch the hilarious original.

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The Hangover Part II Review by Maureen

*1/2 (out of 4)

In anticipation of The Hangover Part II, I rewatched 2009’s original Hangover on DVD.  It reminded me how much I liked each of the characters and how brilliantly the mystery of what happened on that lost night in Las Vegas was revealed.  The Hangover is one funny movie.

Any hopes of a happy reunion with the ‘Wolfpack’ were quickly dashed as The Hangover Part II proved to be a big disappointment.  The basic premise from the original is still the same.  Only this time the lost night takes place in Bangkok, Thailand where the boys have gathered to celebrate dentist Stu’s (Ed Helms) upcoming wedding to a Thai beauty, Lauren (Jamie Chung).  The guys invite Lauren’s brother, 16-year-old Teddy (Mason Lee) to join them for what starts out as a one beer by the beach bonfire the night before the wedding celebration.  Instead the party turns into a drug induced, booze fueled night of debauchery with Teddy gone missing.

If The Hangover Part II had kept the same level of silliness and humour as the original this sequel might have worked.  However the tone in Part 2 is way darker, meaner and cruder.  When disposing of a dead body and a severed finger are comedic high points then you know the movie can only go downhill from there.  Even Alan (Zach Galifianakis) who was likable as a naïve man-child in the original is pathologic in his jealousy of Teddy.  Seeing him stare down Teddy on the airplane to Thailand did not seem like the old Alan.

With a predictable plot, mean and racist jokes, injury to an animal and disgusting end credits gag photos there wasn’t much I liked about The Hangover Part II.  Thank goodness there’s the original to rewatch on DVD.

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The Hangover Part II Review by Tony

** (out of 4)

The Hangover Part II is not one of the good sequels that build on an original story and move it forward. The original Hangover had an element of shock and mystery that three guys had to piece together after a night of oblivion, with a lot of laughs along the way that were often vulgar but generally not offensive. By following a similar structure, the sequel is more predictable, so tries to provoke interest by making the characters and the setting (Bangkok rather than Las Vegas) edgier and crossing the line between vulgarity and offensiveness on several occasions.

In summary, I would not recommend Hangover II for anyone who didn’t see Hangover I, and those who enjoyed the original should be disappointed by the sequel, despite some really funny moments and good performances by the principals Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis. Paul Giamatti does his best in a brief appearance but bits by Ken Jeong and Bryan Callen did not work as well as in the original. Moreover, some disturbing moments detracted from the generally harmless fun of the original, including an inexplicable memory flash of the characters as 12 year olds going through the same experiences.

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Consensus:  With few genuine laughs and a nasty tone that regrettably uses offensive and disturbing situations for supposed humour, director Todd Phillips’ Thailand-set The Hangover Part II is a pointless retread that pales in comparison to the excellent 2009 comedy which it so closely follows.  *3/4 (Out of 4)

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