For those who only liked the predecessor to The Hangover Part II, they’re going to be fine with the sequel. However, for those who loved it, continue to quote it and revel in its debauchery, it represents a disppointment.
It’s said that the rule of sequels is to do the same thing – only different. And that’s what director Todd Phillips and his scriptwriters try to do with this sequel.
The locale is exotic Thailand. There is a wedding to be had, but no bachelor party per se. And, of course, the wolfpack – Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianikas) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) – roams once again. Stu’s the one marching down the aisle this time as he’s managed to snare a beautiful Thai woman who wants to be married in her homeland so her friends and family, including her domineering dad and brother Teddy (Mason Lee) can witness the nuptials. It’s pretty obvious that she’s totally unaware of who she’s dealing with respect to Stu and his buds.
Stu wants a subdued kind of pre-wedding celebration and things start out that way with a small bonfire on the beach, a few beers and good times. Yeah, right.
The trio awakens in a squalid Bangkok hotel with no recollection of what happened the night before. Of course they have to slowly but surely piece things together to see just what kind of debauchery they got themselves into. That was the genius of the first film; it played like an enjoyable comedic mystery that had to be pieced together.
But because the audience knows that is the premise, The Hangover Part II loses some of its luster. The only way to offset that loss of originality is to amp up the laughs and the situations. Phillips and company succeed at the latter, but the former is in question.
When the Hangover scores, it does so in a huge way producing gales of laughter, but there aren’t enough of those moments. Ultimately, that’s what those who are deciding whether to see the movie will have to ask themselves – is it quantity or quality they want? In comedies, I’d argue that both are needed.
Another problem: this one doesn’t breeze along. Phillips’ direction and the script provide moments that slow the story down at cruicial spots and feel forced.
Early in the film, however, he hit on something. Galifianikas came close to stealing the movie outright, and it’s as if they realized that was the case and pulled back. Too bad. Helms proved to be his usual goofy self as Stu and Cooper’s portrayl of the amoral Phil gets some laughs.
That, however, isn’t enough to make The Hangover Part II a must see.
Movie: The Hangover Part II
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianikas, Ed Helms, Justin Barth, Ken Jeong
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rated: R (pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent language)
Running time: (1 hour 42 minutes)
Check for theaters and showtimes at Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com