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THE HANGOVER PART II fails to live up to the original

Posted on June 6th, 2011
Posted on June 6th, 2011

By Coop Cooper

Sequels rarely live up to the quality and success of the first film but “The Hangover Part II” should have been a slam-dunk. The original director and cast returned, including some of the popular minor characters. I knew it would be a box-office success, but I figured if it was even half as funny as first film, it would win me over. It didn’t and now it runs the risk of becoming the most disappointing sequel of the year.

Stu (Ed Helms) invites his best friends Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Doug (Justin Bartha) to his wedding in Thailand, the country where his future wife Lauren (Jamie Chung) hails from. After the last debacle, Stu declares there will be no bachelor parties or consumption of unattended drinks. He is guilt-tripped into inviting man-child Alan (Zach Galifianakis) who instigated the last calamity and has been obsessing over re-living the event. After a seemingly innocent pre-wedding beach party, the boys once again wake up the next day not remembering the events of the night before. This time they have lost Lauren’s little brother Teddy and must retrace their steps on the streets of Bangkok to find him and get to the wedding on time.

Not only does it have the same plot and formula as the first film, the characters constantly refer back to the original incident throughout the first half of this movie. “I can’t believe this is happening again!!!” becomes the incessant mantra of these guys who obviously didn’t learn much from their disastrous weekend in Las Vegas. This time around they commit acts too cringe-worthy and unforgivable for the characters to be likeable. Even Zach Galifianakis, who stole the show last time, came across as horribly annoying and mean, making his redemption at the end feel hollow and pointless. The guys get off with no consequences, and even though Stu really needs to be tested for HIV, I’m sure it’s something he won’t bother to mention to his wife on their honeymoon.

Bad writing resulted in telegraphed jokes which came too few and far between. Thankfully, Mr. Chow (Kim Jeong) makes another memorable entrance to provide the largest laughs in the entire movie. Jeong plays Chow, the perverted international criminal whom the boys unwittingly kidnapped in the first film, without any fear or shame and every line out of his mouth is disgustingly funny. Too bad he gets sidelined for most of the film as does Bartha’s Doug who is given nothing to do but relay information between the boys and the concerned bride.

Then there’s the monkey. In a desperate attempt to make a monkey one of the main characters, the writers relied on it too much as a comedic device. Some people (Homer Simpson for instance) will simply see a monkey in a movie and declare the film a winner. For others, it’s a minor plot device that distracts so much from the story, you’ll wonder why the filmmakers even bothered. You know which category you fall into.

Likewise, if you think spazzing-out and constantly screaming obscenities is your idea of comedy, this film has it. I don’t remember the guys freaking out so much last time around, but in “Part II” they only have one reaction to the predicaments they find themselves in and it gets tiresome. They also manage to repeat many of the same jokes from the first film. Very lazy and indicative of a shameless cash-grab. I erroneously believed the talent involved would be above such a move. I was wrong.

I can only recommend this sequel to those who craved more of the first film. If you don’t care about the flaws, you might laugh some and not be too disappointed. After you view it, if you feel ripped off like you’ve seen it all before and suspect all the cast and crew really wanted was a paid trip to Thailand, I’m right there with you.

I laughed out loud a handful of times (all were Mr. Chow scenes), so I can’t give it my lowest rating like I’m tempted to. When this ensemble returns for the inevitable “Hangover III,” I’ll either keep my expectations rock-bottom or skip it altogether and re-watch the original, which was nearly perfect in my opinion.

The Hangover Part II” rating: 2 out of 5 stars

-Coop

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