Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Hangover Part II - 2011

"The Hangover Part II" - 2011
Dir. by Todd Phillips - 1 hr. 42 min.

Official Trailer

Let's get this out of the way: "The Hangover Part II" is not quite as good as "The Hangover" is.  It's not a bad movie at all, it has much of what made the first installment great, but it's just not quite as good.  Part of the reason is likely that instead of watching a string of horrors unfold, a viewer is now expecting the horrific (in a funny way, as long as it's not happening to you) events to come.  There's more than enough here to keep you entertained and interested if you liked the first one, but since this is structurally extremely similar, the element of surprise is lost.

Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married in Thailand (and not to Heather Graham's character, who isn't in this film).  The rest of the Wolfpack are attending, and things quickly go south.  As a lot of the humor relies on surprises, it's not really fair to say much more than that.  If you saw "The Hangover," you know where it's headed anyways.  There are two fundamental changes in the sequel: the missing person is Stu's fiancĂ©e's little brother, and Bradley Cooper's character (Phil) turns into a raging asshole.  I don't remember Phil being quite that much of a dick (it seemed that previously, when the characters mistreated one another it was reacting poorly under substantial pressure), but Part II starts off nearly immediately with Phil turning into a fairly unlikeable character.  And I'm not talking about a charismatic, best friends messing with each other kind of asshole, but just a dick.

While this time around, you're no longer wondering whether things have bottomed out each time something awful happens to Stu, Phil, and Alan, "Part II" makes up for it by upping the ante each time.  Setting the movie in Bangkok ("Holla!  City of squalor!" says Chow, played by Ken Jeong) allows things to get pretty dark pretty quickly.  The fundamental mystery of where Teddy (the previously mentioned little brother) has disappeared to works well, keeping the Wolfpack moving and discovering just how bad their previous night had gotten, bit by bit.

Director Todd Phillips has a couple of classic comedies to his credit now ("Old School" and the original "The Hangover").  "Part II" isn't that good, but it's better than "Starsky & Hutch" or "Road Trip," and that's fine by me.  The best thing I can say about this movie is that if there was a third installment, I'd more than probably go see it, too.  Being able to maintain an audience along sequels is a tricky task, and I felt like it was successful at that.

3.5 / 5 - Theatre

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