Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: "The Hangover Part II" Not Quite the Same

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 36 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Hangover Part II (2011)
Running time: 102 minutes (1 hour, 42 minutes)
MPAA – R for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images
DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips
WRITERS: Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong, and Todd Phillips (based on characters created by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore)
PRODUCERS: Daniel Goldberg and Todd Phillips
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lawrence Sher (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Debra Neil-Fisher and Mike Sale
COMPOSER: Christophe Beck


Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti, Mason Lee, Sasha Barrese, Jamie Chung, Jeffrey Tambor, Nirut Sirichanya, Bryan Callen, Mike Tyson, and Nick Cassavetes

The subject of this movie review is The Hangover Part II, a 2011 comedy from director Todd Phillips. The film is a sequel to the 2009 hit comedy, The Hangover. Most of the cast returns for this sequel, including Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha, the characters the comprise “the Wolfpack.” In The Hangover Part II, another pre-wedding get-together turns bad, this time in Thailand.

The Hangover Part II opens two years after the Wolfpack’s escapade in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now, dentist Dr. Stuart “Stu” Price (Ed Helms) is getting married, but the nuptials are in Thailand, the home of Stu’s bride-to-be, Lauren (Jamie Chung). Stu invites Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper), Doug Billings (Justin Bartha), and reluctantly, Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis) to attend the wedding.

In addition to the usual pre-wedding jitters, there is some other tension. Lauren’s father, Fohn Srisai (Nirut Sirichanya), hates Stu, and Alan does not like that Teddy (Mason Lee), Lauren’s little brother, is tagging along with the Wolfpack. Stu, Phil, Doug, Alan, and Teddy decide to spend one night around a campfire on the beach, drinking beers and roasting marshmallows. The following morning, Stu, Phil, and Alan wake up in a dirty hotel room in Bangkok. They can’t remember what happened after the campfire, and someone is missing again.

The Hangover Part II is not The Hangover. For one thing, the sequel lacks the element of surprise that made the first film such a delight. The Hangover practically came out of nowhere and caught audiences unaware, with its twists and turns that made Las Vegas seems like a wonderland of playful raunchiness and good-humored naughtiness. In spite of all the R-rated fun, The Hangover was joyful, and the danger was less about jeopardy and more about merriment.

I can’t say that The Hangover Part II is darker than the first film, because The Hangover wasn’t a film with a dark mood or even dark undertones. The Hangover Part II is just plain dark. It is raunchier, as if to say “Bangkok don’t play!” I also wouldn’t say that the story is especially cruel to the characters, but the screenplay does seem to be putting Phil, Stu, and Alan through their paces. It is as if fate doesn’t really care one way or the other about them. Whatever made Las Vegas a special, but safe playground for the Wolfpack isn’t a privilege the friends will get everywhere they go. Sometimes, in some city, one of the Wolfpack will get f***** up the a**, and it won’t be any bigger a deal than getting a bad tattoo after getting pissy drunk.

However, The Hangover Part II is funny, not as funny as the original, but funny in its own foul and revolting way. It is a sequel, but it is also basically a remake of the first movie, set in a new “sin city,” with some changes in circumstances, and a few new supporting characters.

Four years ago, I wrote that the fun in The Hangover was in getting the surprises. The fun in The Hangover Part II is being surprised that you are more amused than you are disgusted by the Wolfpack’s one night in Bangkok.

6 of 10

2012 Razzie Awards: 2 nominations: “Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel” (Both a Remake and a Sequel) and “Worst Supporting Actor” (Ken Jeong, also for Transformers: Dark of the Moon-2011, Zookeeper-2011, and Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son-2011)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment