The Hangover Part II

Directed by: Todd Phillips

Starring:  Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Justin Bartha, and Paul Giamatti

With the release of The Hangover Part III imminent, STMR continues its retro review series of the Hangover trilogy with The Hangover Part II. Like most sequels, The Hangover Part II suffers in comparison to its predecessor. The first movie was so ridiculously hilarious and original, that it was impossible for the sequel to outdo or even match The Hangover. While it is always a pleasure to see the wolf pack back in action, the filmmakers fail to bring any fresh ideas to Part II.

The Hangover Part II picks up some years down the road. Stu (Ed Helms) is on the verge of marrying his fiancé Lauren (Jamie Chung). Lauren’s family is originally from Thailand and the wedding will be held on a beautiful island in her native country. Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Doug (Justin Bartha) are thrilled about the trip and plan on flying across the world to support their best friend. Doug, however, does require a favor—he wants Stu to invite Alan (Zach Galifianakis). Stu is a tad reluctant because the last time he partied with Alan, he was drugged, lost a tooth, married an “escort” and woke up with a tiger in his bathroom. However, after some haggling, Stu agrees to invite Alan on the trip.

When the wolf pack arrives in Thailand, Lauren’s father Fohn (Nirut Sirichanya) expresses nothing but disdain for Stu and even compares him to boring, dull, plain, watery rice. To cheer Stu up and celebrate his nuptials, Alan, Doug, Phil and Lauren’s younger brother Teddy (Mason Lee) have a few drinks over a bonfire on the beach. After they toast, Kanye West’s “Monster” plays as night turns to day.  When the guys slowly wake up, they are in a random apartment in Bangkok. Stu has a facial tattoo, Alan’s head is shaved, a naked Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) is passed out on the floor, and Lauren’s brother Teddy is missing.  The trio must find Teddy and figure out what happened the previous night. As they stumble through the mystery, they encounter a monkey, criminals, transvestites and more.

The Hangover Part II has its charms.  Stu, Phil and Alan maintain their comedic chemistry and deliver plenty of hilarious one-liners.  Their camaraderie was so believable in the original movie, that in watching Part II, you feel like you’re watching old friends getting into mischief again.  There is a certain comfort in the familiarity—we love to watch Stu scream like a little girl, or Phil lose his cool, or Alan say something ridiculous.  The gang is all back together.  

The problem, however, is that The Hangover Part II relies too heavily on the same plotline and gags as the first movie and it does not cover any new comedic territory.  The overall plot is literally the exact same plot as the original film: the wolf pack heads out to for a bachelor party night right before a big wedding; Alan drugs them; they wake up without any memory of the night before, and someone is missing; they set out to find the missing person, and on the way uncover the wild antics of the previous night, including Stu sleeping with prostitutes.  Ultimately, Stu figures out where the missing buddy is just in time to save the wedding.  Also, Stu finds the courage to confront someone who is bullying him. Huzzah! 

The Hangover Part II has the same plot as the original movie, except the sequel is set in Thailand and is not as funny.  Color me disappointed.  I sincerely hope that Part III wraps the series up in a better fashion and that II is the weakest entry in this series.  The Hangover Part II earns a low 0.06% rating.  Have a few beers with this one.