Review by El Jefe de Santo
The Hangover was one of the best films of 2009. There really isn't much a debate on that issue because, well, there were some great flicks in that year but few brought comedic genius like the first installment did. I say that not because I thought it should have won the Oscar for Best Picture or any such nonsense, but to reaffirm the point that it was a damn good film.
The pacing was great, the scripting tight, and it built slowly while setting up great jokes for later in the movie. The trio we've all come to know and love all had their quirks and personality traits that defined the usual archetypes, but also defied them.
We, the movie going public, definitely showed our love for the film to the tune of 461 million worldwide. This was a comedy and not only that an R-rated one. That just doesn't happen. Warner Bros, naturally, wanted to see if they could capture lightning in a bottle once more with a sequel. We all knew that Todd Phillips and crew would up the ante. There would be crazier hijinks, more ridiculous characterization and hopefully a film that turned out better than the first.
What we got, instead, was a movie that so slavishly sticks to the formula of the first that it never really has the chance to flourish. More of the same isn't a bad thing, though, because the laughs are here. There are some moments that will gross you out, surprise you entirely and make you laugh quite hard. I can't help but feel, though, that most audiences will feel the all too familiar "Been there, done that" sort of experience.
I would go over the plot of the movie, but frankly you aren't going to have a tough time figuring out what is going on, overall, if you've seen the first movie. Doug (Justin Barthos) is replaced by Teddy (Mason Lee) while Vegas is replaced by Bangkok. Some of the cityscape shots in the movie are actually quite gorgeous and, overall, Phillips and crew did a fantastic job of shooting it. The problem comes in the writing, though.
Stu (Ed Helms) is the one getting married this time and, well, the ceremony is in Thailand. Things go fucking crazy soon after having a beer with the Wolfpack on the beach with Teddy in tow. We've got a monkey wearing a Rolling Stone vest, a return of Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), and so much debauchery. Just so much.
The gags meant to gross us out do so admirably. The soundtrack is great especially with the inclusion of Monster by Kanye/Rick Ross/Nicki Minaj. The city itself is a dirty pulsing thing that they can't seem to get out of and we are treated to some of the seediest parts of it. The tone is darker than the first film and that can be to its detriment at times.
All the negative ultimately is outweighed by the positive aspects of the film, though. Galifinakis excels at stealing the show yet again and we're treated to what might be the most boss monkey next to Clyde ever put to film. It made me laugh quite a bit, and we're treated to another slideshow at the end of just how deranged their excursion into Bangkok truly was.
I know critics are just destroying this thing for not being really all that different from the first, but what we got here was a film in the same vein that still delivers. I'm not complaining too much because we not only got to see the Wolfpack yet again but also trannies! Thanks for the memories, Thailand.
It's just a shame that Ken Jeong's penis saw more screen time than the Liam Neeson footage that wound up on the cutting room floor.
If you liked the first film odds are you'll still enjoy the second but maybe not quite as much.