Second ‘Hangover’ raunchier and darker, but not great
by Bobby Bozeman
May 27, 2011 | 4731 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I’m not one to beat around the bush, so I’ll just go ahead and tell you what you want to know. And by the look of the box office numbers, what you already know. Is The Hangover Part II better than its predecessor?

No. Sorry. However, it’s a pretty decent follow up.

It’s darker and grittier — and the jokes are often even funnier and more over-the-top than last time — but director/writer/producer Todd Phillips has to push things as far as he can to make up for what is essentially the same movie script, just Xeroxed.

Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Stu (Ed Helms) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) wake up in some grimy, run down Bangkok hotel and discover that Teddy, (Mason Lee, son of director Ang Lee) the 16-year-old Stanford pre-law student and the apple of the eye of Stu’s disapproving future father-in-law (Nirut Sirichanya), is missing somewhere out in the wild, foreign city. Next comes the search for Teddy, which happens via re-living the events of the previous night.

The setting is in Thailand (or as Alan calls it all night, Thigh-land) because it’s the native country of Stu’s fiancé’s family.

The used plotting feels stale, which limits the impact of the jokes and the various situations that occur, but that’s largely overshadowed by the outrageousness that’s happening. There are plenty of little sideshows that jump out at you. I mean, who doesn’t love a smoking, drug dealing, denim jacket-wearing monkey? Or Ed Helms singing anything? And of course Chow (Ken Jeong) is back and threatens to steal nearly every one of his scenes.

However — Warning: slight spoilers ahead — Teddy, who is on track to become an accomplished surgeon and is already a brilliant classical cellist, loses a finger. I actually really liked that part, because it gave the movie a really tense, dark buildup. And all the dark jokes and gags that stem from that tension are really hilarious. But what I didn’t like is that when the end of the movie comes around, nothing is made of it. It’s just kind of brushed off as no big deal. The resolution falls flat, and it makes all the buildup seem frivolous and empty.

Don’t take all this criticism as a sign that I hate the movie, because I was laughing right along with everyone else. Part II is what you expect, but it doesn’t go out of its way to do anything special. Sure it’s raunchier and darker, mainly because it can’t surprise you anymore, but it doesn’t get creative. And that’s fine; it just makes it a good, funny movie.

But a not a great one.
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Second ‘Hangover’ raunchier and darker, but not great by Bobby Bozeman

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