Posted March 11, 2011 by David Watson in DVD/Blu-ray

Hangover 2, The

The Wolfpack is back! And his time they’re tearing up Bangkok! And they have a monkey! But…do you actually (big groan) give a monkey’s?

The Wolfpack is back! And his time they’re tearing up Bangkok! And they have a monkey! But…do you actually (big groan) give a monkey’s?

Crass, offensive, politically incorrect and damn funny, The Hangover was a runaway hit upon its release back in 2009. A graphic, gross-out comedy from Frat Pack leader Todd Phillips, the first film followed the misadventures of three drunken, drug-addled douchebags, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), who wake up the morning after a Vegas stag night with no memory and, more importantly, no groom. The hotel room has been trashed, dentist Stu’s missing a tooth, there’s a baby in the cupboard and a tiger in the bathroom. Their attempts to reconstruct their night, find the groom and save the wedding involve Stu marrying a hooker (Hollywood’s hooker go-to-girl Heather Graham), irritating, camp, naked Chinese gangster Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) and a Phil Collins-loving Mike Tyson. $467million later (the highest grossing R-rated film ever!) it was probably inevitable that there’d be a sequel.

This time around, Stu is the lucky groom about to marry the gorgeous Lauren (Jamie Chung) in Thailand and he’s adamant that there’s going to be no bachelor party. But without a bachelor party there’d be no film, so one beer and some toasted marshmallows on the beach with Phil, Alan and Lauren’s 16-year old little brother Teddy (Mason Lee) later and the boys are waking up in a seedy Bangkok hotel room with a chain-smoking monkey, Stu has a Mike Tyson facial tattoo, Alan’s head has been shaved and the only sign of Teddy is the severed finger Phil finds in a glass of water. With two days until the wedding, the Wolfpack’s attempt to retrace their steps and find Teddy will involve a riot, getting beat up by a staff-wielding monk, Thai Ladyboys (of course!), some gangsters, a missing bank account and Paul Giamatti as a shadowy Mr Big.

More a remake than a sequel, The Hangover Part ΙΙ is fairly unlovable. A soulless, mercenary retread of the original, the film is mechanically efficient, precision-tooled to hit the same beats as the first movie. But this time round the formula’s just not as fresh, not as risky, not as charming, not as inventive. (Stage whisper) It’s just not that funny. Sure there are laughs to be had; there’s some terrific one-liners, a man being bummed by a Thai Ladyboy is always going to be funny, Ed Helms is a terrific light comedian and Bradley Cooper holds everything together with his easy, lizardy charm but Zach Galifianakis’ patented sociopathic manchild f*cktard act is really wearing pretty thin and Ken Jeong’s shrill, mincing Mr Chow is just annoying, his presence in the film overly contrived.

Worryingly though, the film displays a homophobic anxiety and a virulent anti-Asian racism that’s squirm-inducing. The Hangover Part ΙΙ’s portrayal of Thailand and it’s people never rises above the “sucky-f*cky five bucks, me love you long time” stereotypes of an ‘80s action movie which is ironic given that the cast kiboshed a cameo by alleged wife-beating anti-Semite alkie Mad Mel Gibson as a tattoo artist (a role filled by Nick Cassavetes) on the grounds that he’s racist. But don’t worry, in a classic display of Hollywood double standards, convicted wife-beating rapist and reformed drug abuser Mike Tyson turns up for five minutes to sing (badly, so badly) One Night in Bangkok.

In many ways, watching The Hangover Part ΙΙ is like being hungover. You know you sorta enjoyed yourself but the details are fuzzy. You feel cheated, used. You know it probably wasn’t worth it and have a nasty taste in your mouth. You promise yourself you’re never, ever going to do it again. But you know you probably will. It’s inevitable. The Hangover Part ΙΙΙ should be along in about two years.

David Watson

David Watson is a screenwriter, journalist and 'manny' who, depending on time of day and alcohol intake could be described as a likeable misanthrope or a carnaptious bampot. He loves about 96% of you but there's at least 4% he'd definitely eat in the event of a plane crash. Email: