Review: The Hangover 2

When The Hangover was released in 2009 it quickly became a sort of phenomenon. No one wanted to be the person in the office that didn’t get the joke, so soon the word of mouth made it a smash hit despite having a cast of relative unknowns. The writing was on point with jokes that seemed to hit at least once a minute. Not only did the jokes come fast and furiously, but they were belly laugh inducing. Unfortunately, The Hangover 2’s writing just falls flat.

There are some very funny moments in the newest installment of the Hangover franchise, but they are buried deep between moments that can be down right boring. Gone is the constant barrage of jokes and too often does the movie cut to a beautiful establishing shot of Bangkok, as if the movie is afraid we forgot they weren’t in Las Vegas this time. It just feels like the script was a collection of set-piece scenes and there was nothing that connected them. This leads to an overall feel of the movie being disjointed and wandering around aimlessly looking for the next joke.

Maybe worst of all is the fact that The Hangover 2 is a complete rehash of the original movie. The idea of a Hangover movie has more or less been reduced to a formula that resembles a knock-knock joke. Simply have a character get married, get drugged at the bachelor party, wake up with no memory of the night before, lose a member of the group and then proceed. It’s all here in the sequel, the gang ends up in a police station, a hospital, Stu gets disfigured… Really the only difference is the that the jokes push the boundaries of good taste even further and this often leads to mixed results. In my showing, the off-colored jokes where just as often met with groans as laughter.

It’s not all bad news though. The cast is still the shining point of The Hangover 2. The combination of Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis have a great chemistry together. Galifinanakis’ Alan character is actually so over the top he requires two straight men to sell the joke, which may be a first in comedy. The addition of Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow is also a lot of fun, but felt completely under-utilized both in screen time and quality of jokes.

The movie itself is very visually appealing and each scene has a unique color palate. Thailand may be one of the few cities in the world that can hold its own again Las Vegas when it comes to unique beauty. Like previously mentioned, director Todd Phillips makes large sweeping establishing shots of the city which look like they could be used in a tourism video. Unfortunately, none of this really helps make the movie funnier which should be the ultimate goal in a comedy.

In the end, The Hangover 2 is just a mediocre comedy that fails to deliver despite having an amazing cast and a strong pedigree. It’s strange that a movie that was so original and fresh would spawn a sequel that feels like nothing more than a glorified remake. If you want a movie in the theater that is non-stop laughs and doesn’t taste like a ten-day old bucket of water, try Bridesmaids instead. Don’t let the idea of women getting down and comically dirty turn you off from this superior movie. However, if you’ve already seen Thor, Bridesmaids, and the new Pirates, feel free to check out The Hangover 2. It’s your money and it’s not a horrible movie; it’s just average.

[xrr rating=3/5]

One Comment

  1. Posted May 31, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent review. I had a feeling it really wasn’t going to do anything new that the first film didn’t already cover. I heard Ken Jeong was the best part of the movie, and he hardly was on screen. Making a third film would be a complete waste, but I wouldn’t mind a spinoff film about Chow.

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