Review: THE HANGOVER PART II (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 30 May 2011


RATING: 2.5/5

Let's get things straight. Comedy sequel, especially those in high-concept comedy sequel, hardly gets better. Either they are more of the same or worst, an inferior entry to the more successful predecessor. Case in point: HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK (1992). Okay, that one is not a R-rated comedy but you'll get the point.

And here it is, the inevitable sequel of THE HANGOVER (2009) is bound to happen one way or another. After all, the first movie was an unexpected box-office smash -- grossing at a whopping $277 million in the U.S. alone, making it as the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all-time. However, in THE HANGOVER PART II, it's more of the same as co-writer and director Todd Phillips and screenwriters Scot Armstrong and Craig Mazin chooses to stick to the formula. And that means from A to Z cliches. As Phil (Bradley Cooper) puts it in the opening scene, "It happened again." Yup, take it or leave it.

What about the plot? It's a total carbon copy, except that instead of Doug's (Justin Bartha) wedding and a bachelor party in Las Vegas, it's now centers on Stu's (Ed Heims) wedding and a bachelor party in Bangkok. Two years after the unlikely event in Vegas, Stu is learning his hard way not to repeat the same mistake again when his marriage with her beautiful Asian gal Lauren (Jamie Chung) is about to take place. He is getting married in Thailand, and likewise, his best friends -- Phil, Doug and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) -- are expecting the tradition of a bachelor party even though Stu isn't really interested anymore. On the other side, Stu is facing a heat with Lauren's sarcastic father who obviously dislikes him the moment he has a relationship with his daughter. His soon-to-be father-in-law loves to praise how smart and hopeful Lauren's little brother, Teddy (Mason Lee) is, as a 16-year-old concert cellist who's about to start a pre-med program at Stanford. Then of course comes the night when Phil, Stu, Doug, Alan and Teddy are together at the beach toasting with their bottle of beers. So, it's just beers -- what's worst that could have happen?

Again, as Stu puts it in one of the scenes where he cries out, "I can't believe this is happening again", it's all deja vu experience. The following day, they find themselves waking up in a seedy Bangkok motel. Teddy is missing and there are clues laying around -- a severed finger with a ring, a monkey who wears a Rolling Stones denim vest, Alan's head is shaved, Stu's face gets tattooed exactly like Mike Tyson's, and again -- there's a naked Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), an Asian criminal we last saw in the first movie lying under the rug. Mr. Chow is the only one who can tell what happened the night before, and they are relieved to hear that. But right after Mr. Chow takes a sniff of a drug, he passes out and drops down. Phil feels no pulse on him at all, and assumes he's already died. They know they can't go to the police and decide to hide Mr. Chow's dead body inside the ice box. Next stop: Phil, Alan and Stu roams around the city of Bangkok to search for clues while trying to locate the missing Teddy.

Like any sequel these days, it's about "more, more and more". And in this case of THE HANGOVER PART II, director Todd Phillips favors for something raunchier and louder. How raunchier? Let's just say there's a scene where Stu meets a transsexual stripper named Kimmy (Yasmin Lee) whom they have a night of you-know-what. And how about louder? Oh, they shout a lot. Particularly Stu who often screams like a bitch, and at some point, Alan cries like a 5-year-old kid.

As for the whodunit-like storytelling approach, those element of surprises work so well in the first movie, doesn't really cut it this time. Still, THE HANGOVER PART II remains a fun experience to watch for, particularly for those die-hard fans who love the first one. All the returning cast are as energetic as ever, with Ken Jeong gets a bigger role this time as Mr. Chow. Both Heims and Galifianakis remain the limelight here. Speaking of Heims, he has a memorable moment where he parodies Billy Joel's "Allentown" while plucking the acoustic guitar. ("Well we're living here in Allentown, and he's driven our lives into the ground. When we woke up, we're wasted and drunk. Phil got shot, we got beaten by a monk. I was happy and my life was good. Getting married like a dentist should. Roasting marshmallows on a stick. I got f**ked in the ass by a girl with a d**k. "Hahaha i remember that!" And we're living here in Allentown, but they're taking Teddy's finger now. And I'm pretty sure I'm gonna lose my shit, and shoot Allen in the face. And shoot myself!").

And as usual, stick around during the end credit to find out what's going between them that night.

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