Friday, 3 June 2011

The Hangover Part II

The wolfpack is back. Two years after their forgotten night in Las Vegas, Stu, Phil, Doug and Alan make their way to Thailand for Stu's upcoming wedding to his fiancée Lauren. Inevitably, what starts out as a quiet toast to the upcoming nuptials turns into a horrendous night for the boys as they end up in Bangkok with no clue what happened or how they got there. However, this time it isn't Doug they've lost, it's Lauren's little brother, child prodigy Teddy. They've got two days to find him amidst the chaos of Bangkok and get back to Stu's wedding. Can they find him before the city takes him?

I have news for you. The Hangover wasn't THAT good. Everyone seems to rave about how funny it was and how original and refreshing it was and how it was the highest earning R-rated comedy of all time. I'm sorry, but for me, it was only alright. It was funny, I'll grant you that, but it wasn't the funniest thing ever, not by a long shot. I dare say I got more laughs from I Love You, Man, released a few months earlier. Inevitably though, we have the sequel now, or rather Part II as it's being billed. So is this any better? Is this one of those rare sequels which is better than its predecessor? No. In fact, in their efforts to try and out-do Part I, they've just ended up making the same film. But in Bangkok.

Believe me, this is The Hangover Part I as set in Bangkok. The Hangover Part I rested on two things: Firstly, it relied on its setting. Las Vegas, Sin City, 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas', all of that. The perfect place to have an apocalyptically bad night. Secondly, it relied on Zach Galifinakis and his character being an idiot, linking together the sheer amount of stupidity the boys got up to during their night. Well, The Hangover Part II simply moves the action from Las Vegas to Bangkok without really changing any of the jokes, aside from including a few stereotypes involving ladyboys, drugs and monks. Also, Zach Galifinakis's character is exactly the same and the film relies even more heavily on him this time around as the catalyst for the events before and after the actual hangover. It's the same damn film but just a bit louder and with a few more fucks. In my book, that's just lazy, shoddy film making and more than anything, The Hangover Part II just made me angry.

Zach Galifinakis has this on-stage persona of an idiot who comes out with various non sequiturs at the most inappropriate times. This persona translates directly onto the screen, and Zach ends up doing his usual schtick for an hour and a half, and to be completely honest, I didn't laugh much at it the first time round and I definitely didn't laugh at it the second time round. Bradley Cooper doesn't really act in this, his job is to stand around, shout, swear and look handsome while looking hungover. The unsung hero is Ed Helms, who plays Stu. He's probably the funniest character in these films because of all the misfortunes that befall him. Helms does well when the focus is so clearly placed upon Galifinakis, and by the end he gets the screen time and recognition he deserves. Which brings me to Dr Ken AKA Ken Jeong AKA Leslie Chow. I hate this guy. He's not funny at all, I don't understand his appeal and he's absolutely fucking appalling in this. Again. He has a bigger part in this though, which ruined my viewing of the film. I can't really say much more without spoilers, but the film falls down majorly in the second half because of who appears or reappears.

There are, as expected, a bunch of cameos in this (No Liam Neeson though, oooooh....) and the joke isn't funny anymore. There's even a cameo at the end which is so unsurprising and unoriginal that it won't make you laugh, it'll just make you moan and despair as to why the writers and Tod Philips the director thought it would be funny. It's just so painfully clear that this wasn't done out of love and passion for the project, it wasn't done because they felt they till had a story to tell. This film exists purely for the money. It's arguable any film exists for the money, but this one is just so damn lazy, it has 'paycheck' written all over it. The funniest thing about this film was, much like Part I, the credits, which has a photo album of the night before. That actually made me laugh, whereas there were only two or three times throughout the entire film. For a supposed comedy, that's appalling.

Overall, I understand that people will go out and watch this film and find it funny, find it hilarious. My experience of this film though was ruined as soon as I realised that the film had one joke in it and it was the same one they told in the first film: They can't remember what they did last night. It's unoriginal, it's more crass, it's more offensive, it's more extreme, it's louder, it's more purile and more trashy than the original. The only good thing I can think to say about it is that it was slightly better than Dinner for Schmucks. Awful.

Rating: *1/2