×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Hangover Part II

Little more than a faded copy of its predecessor superimposed on a more brightly colored background.

With:
Phil - Bradley Cooper
Stu - Ed Helms
Alan - Zach Galifianakis
Doug - Justin Bartha
Mr. Chow - Ken Jeong
Kingsley - Paul Giamatti
Teddy - Mason Lee
Lauren - Jamie Chung
Fong - Nirut Sirichanya

The stock dismissal “more of the same” has rarely been more accurately applied to a sequel than to “The Hangover Part II,” which ranks as little more than a faded copy of its predecessor superimposed on a more brightly colored background. One can understand director Todd Phillips’ initial reluctance to tinker with a formula that made the 2009 romp the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever, but the rote professionalism on display verges on cynicism, and despite some occasional sparks, this ranks as a considerable disappointment. Box office should be huge all the same.

No doubt, rebooting the original pic’s high-concept hijinks must have presented Phillips (as well as new screenwriters Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong) with considerable challenges in terms of keeping things fresh. But it nonetheless should have been possible to revive the basic plot structure without slavishly reprising its every beat. This “Hangover” is longer than the first by two minutes, but at times it feels as though the two could be projected side-by-side in perfect synchronicity, with the only changes to many scenes being the location, the wardrobe and the addition of the word “again” to the dialogue.

Missing this time is the Las Vegas location, Rachael Harris, Heather Graham and a substantial percentage of the twisted wit that made the first such an unexpected pleasure. Emphasis on the word “unexpected,” as the primary achievement of the first “Hangover” was its ability to keep topping itself with delightfully tasteless outrages. Relocation of the characters to ugly-American capital Bangkok would seem to indicate a raising of the stakes in that regard, but aside from a breathtakingly offensive half-second snapshot in the closing-credits montage, this one plays it relatively safe.

Again, best friends Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) come together on the eve of a wedding — along with fourth wheel Alan (Zach Galifianakis) — though this time the groom-to-be is Stu, and the nuptials are set for a spectacular seaside resort in Thailand. The father (Nirut Sirichanya) of the bride (Jamie Chung) is hardly a fan of the milquetoast dentist, especially when he’s stacked up against his son Teddy (Mason Lee), a 16-year-old Stanford freshman and cello prodigy.

After a disastrous rehearsal-dinner speech, the four amigos, with Teddy in tow, head down to the beach to share a single beer, only to wake up sweaty and confused in a sleazy Bangkok hotel. Alan’s head is now shaved, Stu boasts a raw tribal tattoo on his face and Teddy has gone missing, save for his ring finger, preserved in ice on a bedstand table. (Doug is again absent from the morning after, though this time he’s safely back at the resort.)

From here, the film is consumed by a clock-beating mad dash to piece together the fragments of the unremembered evening and find the missing teenager. This journey takes them into the orbit of a local crime lord (Paul Giamatti), a drug-dealing monkey, effeminate gangster Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong, again), an American tattooist (Nick Cassavetes) and, of course, Mike Tyson (again). Some of these misadventures are quite funny, some flop with a thud, but few of them possess more than a shred of the anything-goes inventiveness that the film requires. One exception to this is the gang’s inevitable visit to a Bangkok brothel, which actually manages to subvert audience expectations while at the same time further diminishing the film’s already minimal female presence.

Helms and Cooper have no trouble reprising their roles, and as in the original, manage to subtly convey why such diametrically opposed personalities might be such close friends. Galifianakis looks a bit lost, however, as his socially maladjusted character seems to be progressively devolving from welcome X-factor into low-grade irritant.

Sirichanya, on the other hand, completely nails the film’s sharpest moment of cringe-worthy hilarity, delivering a monologue in which he laboriously attempts to compliment his future son-in-law by comparing him first to a developmentally disabled relative, then to a flavorless rice porridge.

Production design is of a particularly high quality, capturing the crowded, humid ambiance of the Bangkok streets as well as the smaller details — the Billy Joel posters hanging in Alan’s bedroom draw more laughs than many of the madcap setpieces. Editing and camerawork are solid, and one expertly executed car chase is a blast on its own merits.

The Hangover Part II

Production: A Warner Bros. Pictures release presented in association with Legendary Pictures of a Green Hat Films production. Produced by Todd Phillips, Dan Goldberg. Executive producers, Thomas Turk, Scott Budnick, Chris Bender, J.C. Spink. Co-producers, David A. Siegel, Jeffrey Wetzel. Directed by Todd Phillips. Screenplay, Phillips, Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong, based on characters created by John Lucas, Scott Moore.

Crew: Camera (color), Lawrence Sher; editors, Debra Neil-Fisher, Mike Sale; music, Christophe Beck; music supervisors, Randall Poster, George Drakoulias; production designer, Bill Brzeski; costume designer, Louise Mingenbach; art directors, Desma Murphy, Philip Toolin; set decorator, Danielle Berman; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS), Petur Hliddal; sound designer, Jason W. Jennings; re-recording mixers, Ron Bartlett, Gregg Landaker; visual effects supervisor, Robert Stadd; visual effects, Hammerhead Prods., Invisible Effects; stunt coordinator, Russell Solberg; assistant director, Jeffrey J.P. Wetzel; casting, Justine Baddeley, Kim Davis-Wagner. Reviewed at Clarity screening room, Beverly Hills, May 20, 2011. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 102 MIN.

With: Phil - Bradley Cooper
Stu - Ed Helms
Alan - Zach Galifianakis
Doug - Justin Bartha
Mr. Chow - Ken Jeong
Kingsley - Paul Giamatti
Teddy - Mason Lee
Lauren - Jamie Chung
Fong - Nirut SirichanyaWith: Mike Tyson, Jeffrey Tambor, Sasha Barrese, Aroon Seebooruang, Nick Cassavetes, Yasmin Lee, Gillian Vigman, Schnitrnut Busarakamwong, Bryan Callen, Thana Srisuke.

More Film

  • Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's

    Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's 'The Climb'

    Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all worldwide rights, excluding France and German-speaking Europe, to Michael Angelo Covino’s buddy comedy “The Climb.” The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Un Certain Regard Heart Prize alongside “A Brother’s Love” on Friday. Covino directed, co-wrote (with Kyle Marvin) [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Heads for Magical $100 Million Opening in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is heading for at least $100 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, early estimates showed Friday. “Aladdin” will likely finish Friday with around $30 million, including $7 million in Thursday night previews. Sony’s launch of horror-thriller “Brightburn” should pull in about $10 million for the holiday weekend and [...]

  • Henry Ian Cusick

    'Lost' Star Henry Ian Cusick Signs With Buchwald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on the hit ABC series “Lost,” is signing with talent agency Buchwald for representation. Cusick also starred in the CW sci-fi/drama “The 100” and was most recently seen in the Fox series “The Passage.” His other notable television credits include “Scandal,” “24,” “Fringe,” “The Mentalist,” “Body of [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Brazil's 'Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão' Wins Cannes Un Certain Regard Award

    Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz emerged triumphant in tonight’s Un Certain Regard awards, as his grand-scale period melodrama “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão” received the top prize from jury president Nadine Labaki. The “Capernaum” director and her fellow jurors demonstrated eclectic taste in the ceremony, ultimately handing honors to eight of the 18 feature films [...]

  • Dan the Automator

    Heeding the Call of Olivia Wilde, Dan the Automator Scores 'Booksmart'

    Dan The Automator, aka Daniel Nakamura, knows a thing or two about setting a mood. The Bay Area-based producer has worked on projects such as Gorillaz’s debut album, Handsome Boy Modeling School (with Prince Paul) and multiple projects with rapper Kool Keith. Now, Nakamura has set his sights on film scoring, and will make his [...]

  • It Must Be Heaven

    Cannes Film Review: 'It Must Be Heaven'

    Continuing to chart his own path in a Palestinian film landscape generally perceived as monolithic, Elia Suleiman turns his delightfully absurdist, unfailingly generous gaze beyond the physical homeland, where parallels and dissonance abound. By now Suleiman’s distinctive style is not just well-known but eagerly anticipated, his wide-eyed, expressive face forever compared with Buster Keaton as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content