The Hangover Part II – Boozy in Bangkok
The Hangover was a surprise hit both sides of the pond, despite the formulaic nature of the story, and it succeeded because it was genuinely funny and an entertaining bout of mayhem. The group dynamic was well balanced with Bradley Cooper’s nice guy player Phil contrasting well with Ed Helms as the anxious, under-the-thumb Stu Price, who, it turns out, is some kind of absolute heathen when he hits the drink.
The Hangover’s group of protagonists was rounded off by unstable, clingy chaos magnet Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis), brother-in-law to missing groom Doug.
The three of them spent the film trying to find their friend who was lost during a night of madness, fuelled by Alan’s illicit addition of rohypnol to the guys’ drinks.
They eventually found Doug on the roof and got him safely to his wedding, albeit frighteningly orange from his time trapped in the blaring sun. Alan came clean about his part in the widespread memory loss and got belted by Mike Tyson, they all befriended a semi-psychotic, highly excitable gangster called Chow (Ken Jeong) and Stu left his wife after realising she was a very angry and unpleasant woman.
So, it made loads of money (loads and loads of money) and the inevitable was, well, inevitable. The Hangover Part II sees our guys move the same situation to a different location, in a move that was guaranteed to make money, and odds-on to prove disappointing.
This time Stu is getting married to Lauren in Thailand, despite her father’s opinion that he is a waste of space and unfit to marry her. Alan manages to tag along, and they meet Lauren’s brother Teddy, who is an exceptional student and well-mannered, but sheltered, good little boy.
They have some drinks on a beach, and then wake up in the midst of hell, also known as a Bangkok hotel room, with no Doug (again), a pet monkey and Teddy’s finger, with no Teddy. They quickly find out that Doug left early when things got hectic, so once more it is Phil, Stu and Alan trying to piece together the night before, whilst looking for the missing brother. Without Lauren’s brother, who is somewhere missing a finger, the wedding is sure to hit a slight snag…
The real problem with The Hangover Part II is not that it rehashes the same story in a different location; the major flaw is that it isn’t at all funny, which is kind of a drawback for a comedy. Rumour has it that the cast got sick whilst filming and generally had a bit of a nightmare, and that is how the film comes across. It actually seems pretty sinister and grim, without levity, leaving it as an hour and a half of characters suffering in a confusing, unfamiliar environment.
Returning director Todd Phillips is clearly aware that he is making the same film with a different setting, and he makes no effort to suggest otherwise. His direction is good, but it only emphasises, without relief, the hellish nature of their situation; the film’s colour palette is dominated by a dull gold colour which in itself oozes discomfort, and each moment of pain is accentuated by the impact of savage visual and sound editing. It hurts to watch these guys get hurt, and it seems like those behind the camera have drained the life and fun out of their original story and filled in the gaps with a monkey, some violence and a couple of predictable Bangkok gags.
The laughs are thin, and even the return of Chow proved to be irritating. However, we always welcome a Paul Giamatti cameo, and Bradley Cooper remains a charismatic leading man and a firmly cemented Hollywood star for years to come.
With very few redeeming features, and about three genuinely amusing moments, The Hangover Part II is less fun and funny, and more pain and painful.
DVDRental Rating 4/10