May 27, 2011

It's Called Bangkok For A Reason!!!!

Are sequels allowed if they don't really do anything new. Sure, Die Hard: Die Harder was set in an airport and all that, but all it was was Die Hard in an airport. Now, the studios would have you believe that this is totes-ma-gotes fine. After, they gotta make that ill money. But, does it matter to us, the cinematic viewer? Well, if the crowd I was just with at The Hangover: Part II is anything to go on, the answer is no. They were enjoying the hell out of it. But, did this pretentious, JoGo obsessed, Muse loving, 19 year old twit love it? No. The Hangover: Part II is not bad by any means. Had the first one never existed, this would be a truly special piece of comedy. But, the first does exist, making this one no more than a tired retread. It has it's moments, but it's not enough.

What could possibly go wrong?

The setting has moved from Las Vegas to Bangkok, and that's about all that's different. The Wolfpack, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug all head to Thailand for Stu's wedding. Stu is adamant that there will be no bachelor party, as he does not want to risk a repeat of their experiences in Vegas. Unfortunately, that doesn't really go according to plan, and the original three end up in a seedy motel in downtown Bangkok, far from their resort, with no memory of the night before, and, of course, hungover as balls! They also can't find Teddy, the brother of Stu's fiancee. What follows is an absurd tour of the underbelly of Bangkok to find Teddy that brings The Wolfpack face to face with gangsters, trannys, crazed tattoo artists, monkeys, and monks. And it all plays out exactly like the last one. Literally, note of note.

Ok, fine, there are some changes to the formula. Stu didn't lose a tooth this time. Instead he got a tattoo on his face. There's no tiger. Instead there's a monkey. They think they are getting to their prize and that all is well, only to find out that, no, it's not even close and they have a whole hell of a lot more searching to do. Stu is revealed to have done something very embarrassing sexually, and the whole thing wraps up nicely with a photo montage.

What made the first Hangover so good was the mystery. You actually had no idea what the hell happened to these guys, and had a blast discovering it with them as they went along. That mystery is all but gone here. Sure, there are some moments that are pretty surprising, but, for the most part, everything plays out exactly the way it did in the first one. Most of the revelations here seem to be setups for a "I can't believe this is happening again!" quip from one of the characters, which gets old rull fast!

A whole hell of a lot, that's what!

The main three are back. Bradley Cooper still does a fine job as Phil. Ed Helms is completely shameless as Stu. They are both still as charming as ever. I wish the same could be said about Zach Galifianakis' Alan. He was so delightfully stupid in the first one, but that's not the case here. He's actually kind of mean in this one, so much so that a lot of his gags aren't even funny at all. Cooper and Helms take some of the slack, but still. It's a disappointment.

Ken Jeong returns, batshit as ever, as Chow, the perpetually strung out mobster, Justin Bartha is given barely anything to do as Doug, and Jeffery Tambor is one scene and disappears for the rest of the films. Nick Cassavetes has a brief cameo taking over for Liam Neeson taking over for Mel Gibson. And of course, Tyson shows up somewhere.

It's pretty much everything you expect. The actors do a good job, but they are repeating the same schtick to a T. Boring.

Now, despite the fact that almost everything is on repeat, there are some truly brilliant moments. The revelation of what sort of sexual act Stu engaged in the night before is hilarious. The dialogue is still inspired in places, even if the jokes are not. And, not gonna lie, seeing these guys floored by their disbelief that this is happening again is really funny... the first time. After that, not so much.

It's not bad. Like I said, if it wasn't a sequel, it would be fantastic. But, for all it's raunch and absurdity, The Hangover: Part II can't rise above being a tired reimagining of the far superior first one. It's only real reason for existing is to steal all our hard earned dollars. In a summer that looks to be, once again, devoid of comedy, this one will likely stand out, if only because we will think so fondly of it's bis brother when we watch it. Sad times, but such is life.


  1. well, at least the monkey had more parts than the tiger...

  2. Agreed. Didn't care much for the monkey though.

  3. Great review! I've got to agree with everything you said. I didn't so much mind the massive repetitiveness...only because I'd expected it. Though I was a bit surprised by the fact that they followed the script of the first one literally line for line. Not as good as the first by a long shot, but I still found it very entertaining and worth the viewing.

  4. Have you seen the 50/50 trailer yet? I'd have thought you'd be all over that shit by now.

    I left a terribly detailed comment somewhere at Univarn's site that explained why this movie's just an elaborate remake experiment by Lars von Trier. So there's that.

  5. Well...ditto. Yeah, that suffices in this case.

  6. What's missing is a huge part of what made the first film so good: the element of surprise and the actual joy of having all these crazy situations happen. This is a It's a dark and morbid cash-in and nothing more, except with some chuckles. Good review, check out mine when you can!