Film: The Hangover: Part II
Director: Todd Phillips
Written by: Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong & Todd Phillips.
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti, Mike Tyson, Jeffrey Tambor, Mason Lee, Jamie Chung, Sasha Barrese.
Running time: 102 min.
Let's get this all cleared up: I loved the original The Hangover. When I saw it, I thought I'd died and gone to comedy heaven. I was so taken by how clever it was. I know it off by heart because I've seen it probably over 30 times. And yes, I do admit that for quite some time I believed it was my favourite film of all time (it's still in my top 100, number 84 to be exact). So when I heard that this was much of the same, I thought I'd be okay with it. I mean, I loved the original material, so I should love what comes after, right? Wrong...oh so wrong. The Hangover: Part II opens with the exact same scene, with just about the exact same words. From then on, I thought that things might change, and maybe I'd be in for the same sort of fun, but still have a film that could have it's own uniqueness. Nothing changed. It was the same thing, just in Bangkok. And that really rubbed me up the wrong way.
So, I guess you could say that if you've seen the first The Hangover, then you've seen this version. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), the original 'Wolf-Pack', have another wild night and end up losing someone important. This time, they're in Bangkok for Stu's wedding, and they manage to lose his bride-to-be's little brother, Teddy (Mason Lee). There's much of the same: Doug (Justin Bartha) doesn't get to come in fear of messing up the Wolf-Pack, Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) make an appearance, the touchy Stu is the one who does something unbelievably stupid. They also manage to get themselves a monkey (you know, in place of the baby). The film definitely plays it way too safe when it comes to being a companion to the source material. It's like Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong and Todd Phillips have literally copied and pasted Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's brilliant script and decided to change a precious few things around because, you know, this is a sequel. They do manage to add some pretty bizarre things, such as a hermaphrodite, gangsters and Mr. Chow being given more to do than be naked and beat people. Unfortunately, the outrageousness of some of the things they add comes across as downright offensive. Which brings me back to my point: you shouldn't mess with the original. Even if you just want money.
I've always thought that the reason why The Hangover worked so much is because we didn't really know Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms or Zach Galifianakis back then. Their humour was fresh, unlike some of the other comedians like Adam Sandler who stopped being funny years ago. It's because of this that The Hangover: Part II is so unsuccessful. Since the first film, Bradley Cooper has become the sexiest man alive and the blue eyes behind several blockbusters; Ed Helms has been in a few indies and continuing his run on The Office; and Zach Galifianakis...where do I even begin with Zach Galifianakis? He was arguably the driving force behind what was so funny about The Hangover, but he quickly got old. After the success of the first film, he was in just about every comedy, and most of his old, smaller films got to see the light of day. The first film made big stars out of each of them, and with good reason, too, but they shouldn't have had to play the same characters again. I liked them in the first film, but in this one I realised just how annoying their characters were. All Phil seems to do is go on about how hard his life is and be irresponsible. All Stu seems to do is run around saying "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!" All Alan seems to do is be impossibly stupid. Maybe they were like that in the first film, but I wasn't annoyed by it so much back then.
To me, The Hangover: Part II was much like Todd Phillips' other misfire, Due Date. It was extremely harsh and ugly, with something to offend just about everyone. Due Date was probably rushed just so Todd Phillips could make another film to tide over the gap between The Hangover and it's sequel. But The Hangover: Part II seemed quite rushed too. Or maybe not...it just seemed to lack any compassion or real thought. Which is a great shame, because I had hoped that Due Date was just a by-product of how great The Hangover: Part II was supposed to be. Unfortunately, it just turned out to be another misfire, which is likely to turn into another misfire once The Hangover: Part III is made. I feel sorry for Todd Phillips, as he has shown considerable talent in making raunchy comedies, but he is proving to be a one-hit wonder. I think the only thing I could give bonus points to The Hangover: Part II for is that it's ending that required a bit more thinking, but even that was let down by an extremely rushed finale.
When I went into this film, I expected to be one of those people who loved it no matter what. I didn't want to be the snob who followed the general critics consensus and greatly disliked it. But I just didn't like it at all. At the end of it all, I said to Mum that "if they find a camera with all of the photos on it, I am going to kill this movie." And what do you know? Teddy brings along his phone and we get to see their photos. This made me realise that there's nothing that I dislike more about the film industry than anything else: originality is often sacrificed for money.
What I got: