Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong, & Todd Phillips
Going into this movie I had reconciled with the fact that it was just going to be the same movie as the first one with just lateral changes. Bangkok instead of Vegas, a monkey instead of a tiger/baby, a face tattoo instead of a missing tooth, and so on and so on. I knew this going in and yet I still had hopes it would just provide some good laughs. I saw the first one at a pre screening and while I didn’t think it was a great movie I enjoyed it and laughed quite a bit. About a half hour into this stale sequel I started to think about how just not very funny it is. I understand the whole if it ain’t broke don’t fix it thing but this is, with very little exageration, the same movie as the first one beat for beat.
This time around Stu (Ed Helms) is marrying Lauren (Jamie Chung) with the wedding taking place in Thailand because that where crazy stuff happens right? The whole gang/Wolfpack reassembles for the wedding assuring each other nothing bad will happen. One beer later they wake up drenched in sweat in a disgusting Bangkok hotel and Teddy, Lauren’s teenage brother, is missing. If you’re confused as to why this Teddy person is missing and not Doug well that is the twist this time around! All of the things that happened in the first movie happen again in this one but just with different names! The word replacement feature in Final Draft should have gotten a co-writing credit on this.
I knew this is what the movie was going to be going in. I get it. The first one made a ton of money. But not even half way through the movie I was already tired of it. I was tired of Bradley Cooper just repeating “what the fuck?!” and “holy shit?!” which is definitely 75% of what he says in the whole movie. Ed Helms is the boring straight man who just keeps getting shit on but who also doesn’t really say or do anything funny. That leaves Galifianakis as the sole thing in the movie that I found funny. I have been a fan of his for years so seeing him in these huge movies now is a pleasant surprise. But really the only humor I could find in the movie was Zach just saying his standard bizarre non-sequitors, saying something like “why didn’t you page me?” But in the end that is the kind of thing he has been doing for over a decade and I am sure it is things that Zach came up with and not the screenwriters. This is pretty much the same problem I had with Phillips/Galifianakis’s last collaboration Due Date. The movie itself was punishingly unfunny and mean save for Galifianakis being Galifianakis. There are no big laughs that come from The Hangover because the script just seems so damn lazy. The movie hints at wanting to go darker and raunchier but then it backs off and just goes for the obvious before ending on the sappy. For a movie of debauchery it just doesn’t seem to have the balls of recent comedies like Observe and Report or World’s Greatest Dad. I would love to see what someone like Jody Hill would do with one of these movies.
I will say that for comedy Phillips shot a really handsome film. Usually the look of a comedy seems like an after thought. They look flat and dull but as long as they are funny who cares!? Hangover 2 has a really good and dirty look to it and really makes the most of its setting and, I assume, huge budget. The selection of music used throughout was also interesting and inspired from Kanye West and Jenny Lewis to Mark Lanegan and Curtis Mayfield.
Maybe with the inevitable Hangover Tres, or whatever they are going to call it, they will think to not give away everything in the trailer? While I liked the first one I still think giving away the Tyson cameo in every single ad was a mistake. He didn’t do anything funny in the movie exactly, his presence alone was the joke, and by knowing he is in it from the start the surprise, and the joke, is ruined. This movie suffers pretty much the same fate. Watch the first Hangover then watch the trailer for the sequel and just plug in the things you see in the trailer into the first movie and voila sequel! People are going to see this movie no matter what so why spoil the monkey or the face tattoo or Mr. Chow? In the end I can’t say I am let down because my expectations were so low, when are there ever good comedy sequels? But I still went in hoping that my low expectations would mean the movie would surprise me but instead it met them. Oh well. People clapped in the theatre so what do I know.