Treads down the same lines as the original but it doesn’t work. The Hangover Part II has shots in the trailer that elicited big laughs but as played out in the movie they don’t gel. I found saying to myself that just two or three more scenes and it will find its groove, but it just doesn’t. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis reprise the Wolfpack and reprise the same story. Except it’s restaged in Bangkok, Thailand. Phil (Cooper) uncharacteristically whines about making the big trip in his first real scene. Alan (Galifianakis) lets the guys into his bedroom for the first time, in perhaps one of the few really juiced scenes. Stu (Helms) is this time the prospective groom tying the knot with a Thai hottie (Jamie Chung) whose father is less than pleased. Then the blackout, the next morning wake-up, and an inevitable thudding series of scenes where the guys look for Teddy (Mason Lee), the bride’s whiz-genius brother. The tone pitch is just off.
This time Stu wakes up with a Maori tattoo etched around his eye and temples just like Mike Tyson. Alan has a shaved head. Phil seems way less blasted this time than in the first one leading you to think that two popped Tylenol could cure his morning. Instead of a tiger in the hotel room, you have a severed finger. And you have Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow pop up inside the crummy motel room that looks as if it has got piss-stains on the wall. The first order of mishap business for the boys is to carry a body up to the 15thfloor and throw it in an ice machine. How did they know the ice machine was big enough to hold a body without looking at it first? What good would it do to hide a body in an icemaker?
All this sequel’s got is some infrequent amusing moments. A visit to a Buddhist monastery is one of the thudding humorless scenes, but a visit to a strip club has some kink. Although, when Alan discharges a machine gun uzi it comes off as a transparent effort to be outrageous, a moment that only works in the movie trailer. Stu has a revelation, yet another, with a hooker that works at the club. Which hooker and how far did he go with her? Amusing answers. Not before long Stu gets sprayed with pig’s blood and goes into song recounting his humility. How about Paul Giamatti (“Shoot ’Em Up” showcased his apt for meanness) as a gangster looking for a code that could also be linked to Teddy’s disappearance? His role in the film doesn’t build to any inspired hilarity, it just builds to a pat explanation.
If you must go, you will. Anybody ambivalent about the original film will be slapping themselves for bothering to show up. Alas, in truth, the last ten minutes really work well. This includes the photo-album montage restaging the previous night’s debauchery. Finally, it took until this finale photo-strip before Todd Phillip’s movie found any good rhythmic editing. Still, the photo-album that concludes the first movie was funnier.
102 Minutes. Rated R.
COMEDY / CRUDE HUMOR / WEEKEND VIEWING DEBAUCHERY
Film Cousins: “Old School” (2003); “Superbad” (2007); “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” (2009); “The Hangover” (2009).