Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Tambor, Jamie Chung
Synopsis: Another bachelor party, another forgotten night with a missing friend, and circumstances that defy comprehension. All that has changed from the original is the location, transferring the misadventures of Phil and the “wolf pack” from Vegas to Bangkok.
Reviews for this film upon its release a few months back were certainly mixed. It was acknowledged as competently following in the footsteps of the original, with opinion being divided whether the sheer similarity alone was a good or a bad thing. Whilst this is not a bad film, it is in my opinion, not the original. Had this one been released first, it may have been a smash hit itself, but being held up in comparison to the surprise hit that was actually the original makes this film a poor offspring.
The difficulties in making a sequel of such a surprise hit are many, and often the best course of action is to acknowledge the improbability of the same things happening twice, such as John McClaine constantly quipping at how absurd it was that two christmas’ in a row he was fighting criminals to save his wife who was in mortal peril. The Hangover Part II does this, but it seems to want to make the coincidences plausible as well. To do this, Galifiankis’ Alan is made the instigator of proceedings. But to get him to make the same mistake twice, story threads are introduced that in many ways ruin the charm that his character had in the first place.
In the first film, Alan was an idiot to the point of being mentally challenged. He was a great character though as he had a big heart, and all he wanted was to get close with his new “friends”. In Part II he feels this friendship is threatened. It is perhaps a logical reaction, given how insecure Alan was to start, but very early on he becomes very petulant and vindictive. It is a different side of Alan, played for laughs, yet all it succeeded in doing was making him very unlikable.
When the film does replicate the original, it is a mixed bag of hits and misses. When the jokes find their mark, they are hilarious. More often than that though, the film just feels like it is trying too hard. Cracks appear at the seams that make the audience feel that the creative team cracked under the pressure to replicate the freshness and spontaneity of what had gone before.
This is an okay film, and the laugh ratio is perhaps equal to any other modern-day comedy. Given the original was so much better though, the end result is overall a little disappointing.
2.5 stars out of 5