(Warner Bros. Pictures) 2009’s The Hangover left viewers engaged in heated dialogue about whether it was sexist, juvenile filth, or the funniest movie in years. I happen to be of the latter variety and was psyched to see the sequel. Love it or hate it, the first film grossed over $467 million worldwide and is one of the most successful “buddy comedies” to date. This Memorial Day weekend, Todd Phillip’s returns with The Hangover: Part II, as the wolfpack reunites to celebrate Stu’s wedding in Thailand.
Opening on smoldering bad boy Phil’s bloodied face (Bradley Cooper), he informs yet another bride-to-be that they “did it again.” It is instantly clear the film follows the same pattern as the original. Stu (Ed Helms) awakens from a drunken stupor to discover he has inflicted more party animal damage to himself. To make matters worse, his fiancé’s prodigal younger brother has vanished. Sound familiar? Phil, Stu, and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) have no memory of the night's events (“Did you roofie us again, Alan?!”) and take off to scour Thailand for clues.
One of my biggest qualms about the movie is more of a general complaint about movie trailers. Several of the film’s surprise reveals are shown in the trailer! With such a well-known film, did they really have to show key scenes to get people to theaters? This added to my nagging feeling that, though this movie is by all means hilarious, it falls just short of the first. Perhaps nothing can live up to the novelty of The Hangover.
I do applaud Phillips for following the same structure. He substitutes Thailand for Vegas, a missing-in-peril brother-in-law for a groom (Justin Bartha), and a disturbingly sexualized monkey for baby Carlos. It takes a certain bravery to acknowledge what works in a film and stick with it. The two writers behind the first film, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, did not return to pen the sequel. Maybe therein lies the reason The Hangover: Part II packs slightly less comedic punch.
Still, the movie is not without its own ridiculous hijinks. Ken Jeong returns as sassy Mr. Chow, and Zach Galifianakis can do no wrong as the adorably awkward Alan. Todd Phillips clearly meant to outdo himself, and with monkey hand jobs, missing limbs, car chases, and a language barrier, he more than tops the first. If you’re looking to see the wolfpack get into even naughtier shenanigans, this one’s definitely worth seeing.
For Fans Of: The Hangover, Old School, Wedding Crashers