Written by Craig Mazin & Scot Armstrong & Todd Phillips
Directed by Todd Phillips
Running Time: 1:42
Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images.
The Hangover Part II was a fun, if not remotely original, sequel that will feel very familiar to those who saw the first but still offers some gut busting laughs.
Stu is the one getting married this time and his wedding is taking place in Thailand. His old pals Phil and Doug are of course going to the wedding and at the last minute, the convince him to invite Alan, even though Alan was the one who caused all the mayhem the first time around. Immediately after meeting Stu's soon-to-be brother-in-law Teddy, Alan takes an immediate dislike to this outside to the Wolfpack. And then, two days before the wedding, it happens all over again. While Doug is back in the hotel relaxing, Phil, Stu and Alan wake up in a seedy hotel in the middle of Bangkok with no idea how they got there. Teddy is missing, but Mr. Chow is lying naked in the room with them. With only two days to the wedding, the group must try and retrace their steps and find Teddy while dealing with gangsters, tattoos and strippers of a different kind.
It's scary how much this movie parallels The Hangover . We've all seen sequels that mine the same situations for comedy but this one is almost literally the same movie, just in a different place. Instead of Doug being missing, it's Teddy. Instead of stealing a tiger from Mike Tyson's compound, they steal a monk from a monastery. Instead of wandering around with a strange baby, they wander around with a strange monkey. The first movie ended up someone discovering a camera full of pictures, and the last one ended the same way. That's not to say it's bad, it's just eerily familiar. So while you won't get any sort of original story, they still manage to get laughs from preposterous situations. From the moment they wake up, Alan is bald, Stu has a massive tattoo on his face, and the monkey is doing inappropriate things to Mr. Chow. It was an interesting way to get Mr. Chow into the film, but having him be Alan's +1 to the event. But it was also nice that they kept his role short because his character, while funny, can only be tolerated for so long. Phil was his normal cool self, trying to understand and figure everything out, while Stu was ready to lose his mind at every turn and Alan was oblivious to most everything. And as in the last movie, most of the bad stuff ends up happening to Stu. In the first movie he married a prostitute and loses a tooth. In this movie he gets a tattoo the day before his wedding (in a place he can not hide) and he returns to his prostitute ways but... it's not what you expect. I happened to be in a meeting with some people from Warner Bros. the other day and even they were surprised this movie got an R rating. Poor Stu had no idea what hit him and when he (and the audience) finds out, it's arguably the biggest laugh in the film. There were a few other laugh out loud moments, though I felt the first movie was funnier. This one almost felt like they were trying too hard.
I think one of the best things about the movie is the characters. They're all so familiar to us that we kind of enjoy the ride along with them. There's no need to set them up again because we already know what they're like, so we can just jump right into the middle of everything. I wish Doug had been in the movie a little more; gotten into some of his own trouble maybe. But seeing these three guys, none of whom were big stars before the first film, back on the screen was very welcoming. And judging by the first-day grosses, it feels like the audience is quite happy to see them as well. There were moments that felt a little flat and contrived (yes, the entire movie is contrived) but all in all the movie worked. I think if you haven't seen the original, you can still jump into this one and feel like you're missing anything. While they don't go back and re-introduce the characters in a very deep way, there's enough information out there for you to understand the dynamic of all the characters. It's not the best comedy of the last 10 years like the first one was, but it's still worth checking out.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall I liked The Hangover Part II but I wasn't blown away by it. It was too similar to the original for me but they did manage to mine laughs out of the same situations, and that's more of a testament to the actors/characters than anything else.