No amount of Alka Seltzer can cure you of this Hangover.
No amount of Alka Seltzer can cure you of this
The general rule
of thumb with Hollywood sequels is give them more of the same but bigger
budget, harder laughs and, if possible, darker tone. Case in point The
Empire Strikes Back, it ticks all of those boxes with resounding success
and hence became the template for all other sequels. 2009’s breakout comedy hit The Hangover was always going to
spawn a sequel thanks to the outrageous amount of money it grossed at the
box-office; $469.5 Million globally.
The problem is that the sequel only manages to tick one of the aforementioned
boxes. Unfortunately that one is
the ‘darker’ box because Part II is so bleak at times you wonder if the writers
saw the same film we all did the first time out.
It’s been two
years since the events in Las Vegas and The Wolf Pack are heading to Thailand
to celebrate Stu’s (Helms)
wedding. With Phil (Cooper) less than impressed by the lack
of a stag-night and Alan (Galifianakis)
irritated by the inclusion of Stu’s brother-in-law-to-be Teddy (Lee) they agree to have one beer on the
eve of the wedding. However, when the group wake from a night of debauchery and
shenanigans to find Teddy gone, having left one of his fingers, they’re stuck
in the middle of Bangkok and Mr. Chow (Jeong)
has some how joined the party. As
they try and retrace their steps they encounter The Russian Mafia, Monks and
Interpol agents all standing between them and getting Stu to the big day.
Hangover was not to everyone’s liking.
For some it was too crass and felt like a poor re-hash of Peter Berg’s Very Bad Things (1998).
For others it was a perfect balance of bromance come frat-boy fun that
made a household name of Cooper and Galifianakis. The problem with the follow up is it loses much of the
acquired taste charm of its predecessor.
Director Todd Phillips has always given a brand of cruel humour. The kind of laughs that if they
happened to you would not result in laughter but tears of depression. Here he takes it to levels way beyond
what is acceptable laughter material.
We’re talking small penis gags, literally visual ones, people being shot
and one character having a sexual tryst with a hermaphrodite. It becomes very clear very quickly that
this is not something that is going to make you laugh but rather frown in sheer
disbelief at what you are witnessing.
To suggest that
The Hangover Part II has jumped the proverbial shark is a gross understatement. Gone are the cute baby gags, replaced
by unoriginal and juvenile monkey jokes, long gone is the adorable man-child of
Alan, here he’s more of a hostile weasel you’d happily beat to death with a bag
of marshmallows and Cooper’s cool swagger of the first film is replaced by a
dull and overly aggressive alpha male who you’d hope would get shot if you were
his friend. Only Ed Helms’ Stu
comes out with any heart intact, but his character is given such an outrageous story-line
you are left wondering why Helms agreed to do the film in the first place.
And therein lies
the biggest problem. At what point
did a producer, executive, agent, director and actor read this and deem it a
funny and a worthy follow-up? The
laughs are so sparse you wonder if this was intended to be a more dramatic and
serious sequel. Even a cameo from Paul Giamatti cannot lift this from the
doldrums it finds itself nestling in.
There are moments
of bad taste but overall The Hangover Part II fails to deliver on any level,
let alone the promises of the first film.
The box-office takings of Part II will almost certainly demand a Part
III but on this basis it might be best to go back to bed and sleep it off.