for your consideration: the hangover part ii.

The Hangover Part II (2011 Legendary Films)
Two years after the bachelor party in Las Vegas, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug jet to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. Stu’s plan for a subdued pre-wedding brunch, however, goes seriously awry.
Starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis & Ed Helms. Directed by Todd Phillips. Written by Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong, Todd Phillips, Jon Lucas & Scott Moore. Executive producers: Steve King & Scott Budnick.

Remember the superstar quarterback in high school? That’s what 2009’s The Hangover was, a superstar sensation that blazed its way to glory. It is the third highest grossing R-rated film in history.

And then, a couple years later, along comes its kid brother, The Hangover Part II. It follows the plot, gags and gimmicks of The Hangover compulsively with a few swaps, but still pretty much the same. Another wedding. Another bachelor party (of sorts). Another blackout night pieced together to find a missing friend. Instead of Las Vegas, Bankok. Instead of a baby, a monkey. Instead of a missing tooth, a facial tattoo. And instead of surprise, familiarity. Almost too much familiarity. To compensate, the writers ratcheted up the crassness. I suppose that’s to be expected when you shoot a movie in Bangkok. The Hangover Part II boldly goes to places to make you simultaneously laugh, cringe and gasp. Given certain jokes and dialogue, it’s ironic that people involved in the production of the movie balked at including a Mel Gibson cameo. I digress.

Crass jokes don’t scare me, but some audiences are already protesting the insensitivity. Whatever. It’s a joke. Get over it.

One fortunate copycat in The Hangover Part II is The Wolfpack. Despite a script that telegraphs all its punches, I love watching these three guys work together. The chemistry between Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis still works where other elements in the movie do not. Galifianakis’ Alan is a bit more muted this time, if you ask me, but still as weird and innocent and funny as ever. But Helms’ Stu is positively off the chain. I’ll just leave it at that.

While The Hangover Part II is pretty funny at times—especially the last quarter of the film—lost is that element of surprise and the wow factor in the original. The problem isn’t that The Hangover Part II isn’t funny. The problem is the first one was REALLY FUNNY and left behind shoes almost too big to fill. I suppose you can’t blame the producers. The first one was so wildly successful that it would’ve been nearly insane to shake things up too much. But a little shaking never hurts.

Much like the star QB’s kid brother, The Hangover Part II shows flashes of brilliance and a host of oh-so familiar moves that you loved the first time around. But it doesn’t bring anything new, fresh or different to the table. Worth the watch, but maybe as a rental with friends.

*** Stars (out of 5)

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Filed under opinion, Personal, pop culture

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