Phil, Stu and Alan reunite as “the three best friends that anyone could have” and once again try to piece together the night before after yet another drug-induced blackout in Todd Phillips’ sequel to 2009’s outrageous hit The Hangover. Set in Bangkok instead of Vegas, The Hangover Part II can best be described as a recycled version of the original, only lacking the consistent laughs.
The plot feels wildly predictable: instead of losing the groom, the hazy trio misplaces the bride-to-be’s younger brother. A drug-dealing monkey replaces an orphaned baby, Mike Tyson makes another appearance and Stu, portrayed by Ed Helms, still has a weakness for hookers. Ken Jeong returns as gangster Mr. Chow and once again goes full-frontal.
Instead of the catchphrase “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, the sequel coins the phrase, “Bangkok has him now.” The jokes deliver occasionally, but the audience can expect to be underwhelmed by the predictability and almost parallel plots of The Hangover Part II and the original movie.
Once again Alan, played by Zach Galifianakis, drives his two companions nearly insane with his childlike behavior in times of crisis. Stu wakes up with a facial tattoo instead of a missing tooth and, for the vast majority of the movie, screams hysterically while the camera zooms in for close ups. This effect worked well in the original and might even please some the first couple times in the sequel. However, as the movie reaches its conclusion, it is safe to assume that most audiences will have grown tired of it.
That’s not to say that Hangover Part II does not have its moments of hilarity. Bradley Cooper, playing pretty boy Phil, remains the cool head of the group. Galifianakis still delivers gut-wrenching laughs as Alan with his twisted and often crazed behavior.
When the gang arrives at a monastery in search of clues, Alan ponders, “What is this, a P.F. Chang’s?” A memorable and funny scene shows Alan and his relationship with his parents. “Would a cupcake kill you?” Alan demands of his mother when dessert is not present after his lunch.
Additionally, Stu’s father-in-law gives a brutally uncomfortable toast in which he compares Stu to plain, soggy rice, bringing out the best of Ed Helms’ squirming smile.
But perhaps the funniest part of the movie comes in the end credits, when photos of the night before come to light, which is not a good sign for a comedy that is supposed to keep the audience in stitches throughout the film.
The first movie credits Jon Lucas and Scott Moore as the writers and creative firepower. Craig Mazin and Scott Armstrong, alternatively, write Part II. These two seem to lack any guts to push Hangover Part II to any new territory or even stray from the first movie’s exact plot line. To make up for this, Mazin and Armstrong throw in more special effects and grosser gags then the original, but these attempts to keep the audience guessing are largely made in vain.
Most will find The Hangover Part II to be worthy of one viewing; however, the majority of the movie remains largely forgettable. Towards the end of Part II, an extensive car chase ensues. The whole sequence is probably meant to have the audience gasping and laughing at the same time, yet delivers neither. The film carries on in much of the similar way.
Rewatch the original for louder laughs and more fun.