Plot: Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married in Thailand, and after the events at Doug’s (Justin Bartha) bachelor party in Vegas, he is vehemently against another wild outing. But when the gang gathers for just one drink, they wake up in Bangkok with no memory again, and Stu’s future brother-in-law Teddy (Mason Lee) is missing. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Stu must put the pieces of the night together once again and find Teddy.
I thought the original Hangover was just mediocre, so I really didn’t have any expectations for the sequel. I thought this was only a minor step down. But if you loved the first one, you’ll probably be disappointed.
I think every single review for this movie has said the same thing: It’s just the previous film in a different location. And for the most part, this is an accurate statement. It has all the same beats as before. Animals, crime bosses, misunderstandings, etc. One thing that is different though is that there is more at stake. These crazy bastards find themselves in a more dangerous situation, and while I appreciated that, it does hurt the film to some extent.
The Hangover 2 is a comedy, but it doesn’t always feel like one. Right off the bat, newcomer Teddy, who the gang needs to find, is potentially in some serious trouble. The fact that he’s a sixteen year old college kid hinders the comedy. This isn’t Doug lost in the confines of Vegas. This is some kid lost in Bangkok. I wasn’t saying to myself, ‘Hahaha, they lost the groom. What morons.’ I was more like, ‘Whoa…what the hell happened to this kid.’ There’s also something that happens to one of the characters about mid-way through the film that is not funny, and certainly ups the danger level. Although it’s a bit darker and the stakes are raised, it is ultimately still a comedy.
The problem is that this movie, like so many other comedies these days, is nothing but shock jokes. The first one had a lot of consistent and solid funny dialogue mixed in with the shock. This is pretty much all shock gags. And they are all predictable! If you’re going to have this type of humor, you have to at least catch the audience off guard, and it never does. Let’s just say there’s a really bad thing involving Stu that you can see coming a mile away. I knew exactly when to close my eyes. We’ll leave it at that.
The only person who seemed to have funny one-liners was Alan, the Zach Galifianakis character. I thought I was going to hate him in this movie. Galifianakis has been so over exposed. But surprisingly, he was the funniest part of the film. They just revved up his stupidity and ridiculous nature so much that I couldn’t help but laugh. He’s also got a lot of hysterical subtle sight gags that had me rolling. Bradley Cooper’s Phil had some good dialogue when they were in the Monastery, but other then that, the clever dialogue is non-existent. Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms are really wasted here.
I do enjoy the camaraderie among the group. They work well together in these movies. More Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow, the gangster from the previous film, also fits into the group seamlessly. I am biased though because I love Jeong in Community so much.
While I got chuckles on and off, they weren’t as frequent as the original. It’s just too similar and way too predictable. Not just with the jokes, but in some of the broader plot points as well. The audience I saw this with was not laughing very hard. I did appreciate that the situation they got themselves into was a bit more ridiculous, and part of me is intrigued by a third one just to see what would happen. But they would need to drastically change the formula.
Rating: 6 out of 10 (‘meh’)