Review: The Hangover Part II

Posted May 23rd, 2011 at 11:00 pm

The idea of a sequel to the 2009 film The Hangover was a welcome one after having caught audiences off-guard with its hilarious situations in Las Vegas while raking in the cash to become the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all-time. The characters were likable on their own and had great chemistry together so the thought of following them further absolutely made sense.

In the lead-up to The Hangover: Part II however there has been concern regarding the appearance that the plot is a carbon copy of the original. Unfortunately that has largely been realized, and despite a number of big laughs the movie feels uninspired and all too familiar.

The setting has changed to Thailand but the scenarios are largely the same. A bachelor party spins out of control and the guys wake up not remembering a thing about the night and realizing someone is missing. From there it is a race around the city as they try to put the pieces together. Substitute monkey for baby for easy reactionary laughs and so on.

The majority of the developments parallel what took place in the first film to a frustrating degree. Being unable to overlook that it made each and every reveal feel forced. Surprises really didn’t feel as though they were surprises and ultimately they all led to predictable conclusions. Even the new locale didn’t really add much to the story but to provide the backdrop as they raced around without largely inhibiting their efforts. The photos during the credits sequence though were genuinely funny yet again and almost made the whole thing worthwhile on their own.

If just one unexpected thing took place it’s that I came away having really enjoyed Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow despite not having cared for the character in the first movie. All the other actors were playing their roles identical to the first except for Alan (Zach Galifianakis) who was quite mean-spirited early on and that felt somewhat out of place and distracting.

As much as its familiarity hampered its potential The Hangover II was still full of laughs and I can’t overlook that entirely. The main problem is that these characters just can’t shock me anymore regardless of what they get themselves into. In fact by the end I started to dread the prospect of them in a third film attempting to top the first two. You pretty much know what you’re going to get with The Hangover II, an enjoyable but unoriginal follow-up, and for such a popular comedy that may be just enough to entice audiences out and satisfy the masses.

Rating: ★★½☆☆