Monday, May 30, 2011

Movie Review: The Hangover 2

The Hangover 2 (2011)
Directed By: Todd Phillips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha and Ken Jeong

Have you seen 2009's The Hangover? If so, than I can assure you that you can go through the rest of your film-loving life without having seen The Hangover 2 without missing a thing. Both films are so identical that the only real differences are the location (moving from Las Vegas to Thailand) and the groom-to-be (now it's Ed Helms' nice-guy dentist, Stu).

The "Wolf Pack" is reunited for the upcoming nuptials of Stu (Ed Helms) and his bride, Lauren (Jamie Chung). Originally from Thailand, where most of her family still resides, Lauren prefers the wedding to be located in her home country, so Stu gathers together his closest friends and relatives to make the trek overseas. After the Las Vegas debacle two years ago, Stu prefers a Bachelor Brunch -- no alcohol, just coffee and eggs. But, when a campfire get-together with his pals Phil (Bradley Cooper), Doug (Justin Bartha), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and the bride's 16-year-old brother, Teddy (Mason Lee), takes a turn for the worse the gang finds themselves lost in Bangkok with a drugged up Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong, reprising his role from the first film) and a cigarette-smoking monkey as their only companions.

There's not much to say about this film, a literal rehash of the 2009 surprise blockbuster hit. Clearly nothing more than a summer cash-grab by studio executives, The Hangover 2 has few laughs and, more than anything else, leaves the viewer with a severe case of deja-vu.

Although the film has a couple of funny moments, for the most part the script contains only a barrage of swearing and a couple of cringe-worthy racist and homophobic remarks. The first half of the film moves forward at a rapid-fire pace; however, by the second hour the plot drags and you just want the guys to get Stu to his wedding on time so everyone can move on. Although the film isn't quite as atrocious as some critics have claimed (Peter Howell of the Toronto Star, for example, gave it only one star in his review), it's definitely no match for its much funnier and much more original predecessor. More than anything else, it's a disappointment.

Sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone, especially when considering the fact that The Hangover was embraced by critics and audiences alike -- a rarity for comedy films, especially ones with a premise involving drunk, immature men in their 30s. Alas, that's not Hollywood's style. Instead, they must beat a joke to a messy pulp, making all the money they can in the process, before leaving it alone and moving on. And that's a shame. With the monstrously popular opening for The Hangover 2 this past weekend (the film pulled in nearly $85 million in only its first four days of release), the inevitable third chapter is likely already in the works. It's safe to predict that it will be set in another yet another exotic location, featuring a new groom (Alan, perhaps?) and identical antics will ensue.



  1. Still anonymous!! Brent.

    I actually enjoyed this but what you have written is all true. It is a re-hashed money grab. When I saw it last week i just felt in the mood for something dumb, and I got it. I suppose it was a guilty pleasure!!
    I seriously hope though that a third outing doesn't materialise as I think the premise has been stretched far enough. The first was original and got it due praise, but from here on in its about the dirty lucre I'm afraid.

  2. haha!

    Yeah, as I said, it was by no means a terrible film (like some critics are saying) and I did like it well enough. But the main reason I gave it a C+ was because the film brought absolutely nothing new to the table and the second half dragged.

  3. Brent.
    I just had to come back and add more. You know it is fuuny isn't it how we call ourselves cinema buffs and yet watch this which in all honestly is garbage!!
    After the last 5 weeks with Charade and the four David Lean films I have no desire to enter a cinema again in a hurry. Nothing can compare quality wise to what I have seen in the last few weeks. Even a lesser film as A Passage to India is it is still way superior to anything I have seen in theatres this year. The more I see of the churned out CGI of Hollywood the less I like it.
    To be sure there are good films made in the modern era but by god there is a wealth of rubbish too!
    Honestly try watching some of the truely great films and then venture to your local theatre and watch The Green Lantern, The Hangover, Thor,etc, and you'll see what I mean!
    I used the word priviledge in my posts on Lean's films and it was to see three of the greatest films ever made on the big screen. Unfortunately it has left me with a serious dose of melancholy!!
    Oh yes!! After your comment on the Newman biography I did a bit of digging but couldn't find much about it controversy wise. All that seemed to come up was a disagreement on Newman being an alcoholic. I have found over the years biographies always tend to garner controversy in way one or another. It is definitely a difficult genre to write. As a comparison I'm reading an Alec Guiness biography which is no where near as good as the Newman one which I thought excellent. My writing skills do it no justice! Also being unable to edit with blogger was something of a constraint on the final post.

  4. I know! It's true. I rarely watch junk, though. In the case of The Hangover 2 I had free passes.

    Merchant Ivory, eh? I haven't seen A Passage to India but I love A Room with a View.

    The Green Lantern looks like one of the worst movies ever made. I refuse to watch it. My reaction when I saw the trailer was WTF?

    I would love to write a biography of a celeb but it was have to be a lesser known celeb who hasn't been written about a dozen times already.

  5. Brent.

    Oooooo A Room With a View!! Good film! A British period drama at its best! They do them so well. Another film based on a novel I haven't read...must add it to the ever growing list.
    I recommend A Passage to India, if you liked A Room With View then it will more than satisfy. It is a sadly neglected David Lean film, as is Ryan's Daughter.
    Agreed with Green Lantern..I'll probably see it but feel ashamed with myself afterwards!!
    Yes it would be hard to find a celeb who has'nt been done to death.

  6. A Room With A View is both a great novel and a great film. I'll add A Passage to India to my list! :)

  7. It's still a decent comedy movie, IMHO. What is so cool about The Hangover is that any man can relate to it. It may be exaggerated in most levels, but it's a solid, bachelor party movie. Not bad for a boring Sunday evening.p