The Hangover Part II (May Contain Spoilers)

It might not be one of the film releases I have personally been getting excited about, but The Hangover Part II has gotten a lot of people excited after the phenomenal success of the first film.

A couple of years after the events of The Hangover and that fateful night where everything went from bad to worse,  Phil, Doug and Alan are jetting off to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. However, despite Stu’s best efforts to keep his wedding and subdued bachelor party as memory loss-free as possible, The Wolfpack end up stranded in the middle of Bangkok with no memory of the night before – and while Doug is safely back at the resort this time, they have managed to lose Stu’s fiancées younger brother Teddy, the teenage golden boy of the family. Waking up to shaved heads, a dismembered finger, facial tattoos, a monkey in a denim jacket and less than 48 hours before Stu is due to be married, The Wolfpack have to gather their wits and retrace their steps all across the city of Bangkok in order to find their lost man and get everyone back to the wedding on time and, more importantly, in one piece!

There is a lot to be said for originality in comedy films like this, and the storyline for The Hangover Part II doesn’t have much in the way of originality. But that’s only speaking from the basic premise of the whole movie – basically, the exact same situation happens from the first film, but in a new city and with different situations. Because of that, a lot of what happens loses some of its impact as you know what to expect and can see where some situations are heading. When they all wake up in a hostel, you know there will be all kinds of things lying around that will end up being clues to the whereabouts of their lost member and what happened from the night before. But then, that’s the basic premise of the first film too, so it makes sense that a sequel would follow closely to a winning formula.

With all that being said, though, there is a lot of originality in the comedy and in particular Zack Galifianakis’ slightly demented character of Alan.  He may not be incredibly versatile, but this is one character he does painfully well, and ends up being the source of most of the re-quotable lines after the credits roll. Not to say that Bradley Cooper as Phil isn’t any source of comedy either – in fact, as with the last film, Cooper is a lot of what drives the action towards the comedy set-ups they find themselves in. Plus, his and Ed Helms’ reactions to getting repeatedly beaten over the head by trapist monks are pretty priceless as well.

What made The Hangover so great was how unpredictable it was in what could happen next, and while Part II loses some of that it still manages to retain some golden moments of unpredictability that mean you find yourself both laughing and cringing at the same time. For instance, the second that they all walk into a strip club in the dirtiest area of Bangkok you know they’re setting it up for a lady-boy joke – it’s Thailand, how can they not do that kind of joke? – but the brilliance of the scene comes from the execution of the lines. You know where they’re heading, but you still end up laughing all the same.

Part II originally had a few more cameo spots, but after Mel Gibson was turned down to be the tattoo artist, and Liam Neeson’s scenes for the same role had to be reshot while he was filming another film (ahem-Wrath of the Titans-ahem), Nick Cassavetes stepped in as a cameo for the reshoots. Having a lot more of Mr Chow in Part II was a bonus as well, and Mike Tyson’s appearance at the end (however brief it may be) will always be appreciated by fans of the first movie!

While it may not have the surprises of a tiger in the bathroom or a dentist pulling out his own tooth, The Hangover Part II does take everything that happened in the first film and goes a long way to one-upping itself, so if you enjoyed The Hangover then there is a lot you will get out of this film despite the fact that it lacks some of the originals spark.

The Hangover Part II gets a 6 out of 10 for being a little predictable and yet incredibly hysterical at the same time.


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