Saturday, 28 May 2011

'The Hangover Part II' Review

'The Hangover Part II' (dir: Todd Phillips, 2011), Cert: 15

Success can be an unfortunate omen. After the wild and certainly unexpected success of Todd Phillips’ ‘The Hangover’ in 2009 (which became the highest grossing R rated comedy of all time), it’s was pretty clear Warner Brothers and co were going to force a sequel merely for further revenue. Well they have succeeded – this year, the Wolf Pack is heading to Thailand for Stu’s wedding and another night of unremembered mayhem. Oh boy.

 Phil (Bradley Cooper), Doug (Justin Bartha) and Alan (Zach Galifiankis) are heading to Thailand with Stu (Ed Helms) for his wedding. After the chaos of the group’s trip to Las Vegas, Stu hopes his marital location will bring them beauty rather than brawl, but after a beer on the beach, things turn ugly again and the group have to retrace their steps and recollect their memories of what happened the following evening.

 Now like the rest of the world, I adored ‘The Hangover’ – it was so original, painstakingly funny and a fantastic twist on standard narrative storytelling; it was much like ‘Reservoir Dogs’ without all the killing and a cast in sweatier clothing. The original is amongst the best comedies of recent times and it’s certain a modern favourite of mine, so it’s fair to say I was excited for the sequel, even if it was a bit of a cash-in. I suppose I should have entered the film with lower expectations because ‘Part II’ is bad, very bad.

 It seems as though Phillips is still high off of the acclaim for the predecessor and so thinks it’s acceptable to basically ‘copy and paste’ the sequel – well it’s not. 2011’s ‘one-too-many’ adventure is practically a carbon copy of the first picture; it plays out like a dull, recycled check list:

·         Another Kanye West song – check
·         Another car case – check
·         Another city montage - check
·         Another song from Stu – check
·         Another ‘unfortunate’ drug spiking - check
·         Another scene with Mr. Chou jumping out at the group – check
·         Another animal – check
·         Another nervous phone call to the females – check
·         Another cameo – check

And so on. Because of this, ‘The Hangover Part II’ is not a nice trip, nor a funny one. It’s more of a ‘Please drink responsibly’ than ‘Let’s cause intoxicated carnage’, and I can’t help but blame the studio heads and indeed Phillips for this mess. Considered he co-wrote the script, he knew exactly what he was doing; re-writing the same script with a mentality only for further success, and it will probably work – people in their thousands will flock to see the second caper over the weekend and fair enough, I can’t blame them, but one can only imagine they currently feel like I did; filled with excitement and wonder after the first, thinking “How are they going to top that!?” I hope for their sakes, they aren’t as miserable about it as I am.

 I left the cinema feeling like a mother giving ‘the talk’ to a naughty teenager; “I’m not angry that you and your friends got blindingly drunk and did the exact same thing that you did two years ago in Las Vegas with pretty much the same climax, I’m just really disappointed”.

Still from 'The Hangover Part II' (dir: Todd Phillips, 2011)

 However, I don’t think the movie is as bad as some have made it out to be. Typically Chris Tookey of The Daily Mail has made the wildest allegation of them all calling it ‘The worst sequel of all time’ – Well it’s not, far from it. In fact, although ‘Part II’ is dizzyingly poor, it’s still better than half the other rubbish we’ve had this year, and I’m sure many viewers will gain a second round of hilarity and pleasure from this sequel, unfortunately I did not.

 The cast work well with what they are given and play their roles just as well as before but due to the awful, expletive soaked script, they don’t have much to work with. Just because this film has the most uses of the ‘F’ and ‘C’ word in a 15 rated feature, doesn’t make it funny – it makes it rather childish in my books. Phillips needs to get his act together and start making good films again or I will lose faith in him entirely. His last picture, ‘Due Date’ was ghastly, and this one is certainly is not good enough, but it is better than that pile of waste.

 I don’t want this review to stop people seeing the film – that’s not my intention, but I do advise viewers to approach with caution and certainly low expectations. There’s no denying this picture was made to milk the cash from our wallets, but that doesn’t matter as long as audiences get some enjoyment and entertainment out of it. Even though I wasn’t a fan, I wouldn’t ask the cashier for a refund with this film and I am glad I’ve seen it. I still love the Wolf Pack, but the real one – when they had heart, comedy gold and most importantly, originality. Round two’s group felt like imposters in Bangkok and their drunken activities were sadly not to my taste. 

What happened In Vegas really should have stayed there. ‘The Hangover Part II’ is a sad and unfunny replica of its gloriously brilliant predecessor.

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