The Hangover made north of $400m at the box office, making a sequel a virtual certainty. What wasn’t so certain, but nonetheless proves so disappointing, is how by the numbers and lacking in imagination this sequel proves to be. Despite director and co-writer Todd Phillips suggesting that the “Part II” thing is intended to be a tongue-in-cheek reference to the incomparably more epic and high-brow Godfather films, it still comes across as ridiculous. In any event, “Part I” would be the better title, given how flagrant a retread this is of the key points of the undoubtedly superior original.
Telephone call prologue, background fill-in, thrashed hotel room wake-up, search for clues, physical injury, Mr Chow, strippers, sudden realisation, race to the wedding, Mike Tyson, photo montage over the credits. It is all so very lazy and predictable. Even worse, in place of the humour and inventive escalation of the original, there is a genuinely troubling lack of laughs, replaced with lewdness, grime and casual racism. The ante is upped from the original, but only in terms of the language being worse, the damage to Stu being more horrifying and the long term injury suffered by the lost member of the party being more enduring. There are elements that are played for laughs that come across as disturbing instead.
If there are positives to be found, they would be in Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper, who suit their roles well and at least give a convincing depiction of desperation, confusion and panic. The Wolfpack get caught up with some interesting characters along the way, but Galifianakis’ man-child shtick has worn well and truly thin and the efforts to beef up his role simply result in clichéd and predictable awkwardness and embarrassment. In the end though, none of this goes anywhere inventive, creative or funny with the abiding fear that the film’s box office haul of upwards of $560m can only mean that there is more to come.
You can rent or buy The Hangover Part II here from 2nd January 2012 or 5th December respectively and least if you watch it at home you can have a shower afterwards.
Extras: A mock-doc pretending to try to dig behind the scenes of what the director and principals got up to in Thailand and the devastation they left behind is an interesting idea, enjoying contributions from JJ Abrams among others. But it outstays its welcome and quickly becomes laughable in a bad way. Other than that, there is a gag reel, a behind the scenes look at how Todd Phillips shoots the comedic scenes, a woefully unfunny tour of Bangkok with Mr Chow and a look at the monkey that for the most part steals the show. Very poor.