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Hangover 2

A 2011 movie directed by Todd Phillips.

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Predictable, but still the Raunchy, Dark, Amped Up, and Hilarious Comedy I Love Waking Up To

  • Jun 2, 2011


I remember bragging to my friends back in 2009 that I was going to see the “little-known” comedy called The Hangover on its opening night, mostly because I had already heard some of the amazing buzz coming off the film’s advanced screening and thinking it could very well be the next huge hit. Apparently I have a great foresight for modern comedy classics (it’s totally like me to have a useless skill like that), as The Hangover (Part 1) was a colossal hit. It established new box office records for both live action comedies and the R-rated genre in general, and living in a guys’ dorm myself, I can assure it’s still gleefully quoted on a night-to-night basis. Now, The Hangover Part II (one of the funniest titles I’ve ever heard in my opinion) has landed in theaters, and to be honest, Todd Phillips didn’t even have to try here. Just put in the same cast, slap on a new location, and keep up the fantastic jokes that you know people will laugh themselves into tears with, and you’ve got another half-billion in the bank. I can’t say that Todd Phillips’ latest is the most profoundly original film I’ve ever witnessed, but being able to see arguably this summer’s biggest comedy hit first with a room full of other eager fans at 12:01 in the morning was a perfect setting for this immensely funny and infinitely amusing movie. The film takes place about 2 years after the original Hangover, with Doug still happily married and still afraid of rooftops, Phil still with his wife and with their new child, Allen still living with his parents at home and cherishing the memories from two years prior, and Stu now being the bachelor of the hour, arranged to be married in Bangkok, Thailand. Despite Stu’s stern precautions, after a bonfire and drinking night on the beach the guys wake up in a run-down slum in Bangkok with no idea where they are or where Stu’s future brother-in-law could be.

I would imagine finding leading men to take the comedic reins on your movies is a supremely tough task, but I think it’s one that Todd Phillips might just be one of the best at when it comes to consistency. Thanks to him the comedic brilliance that is Zach Galifianakis is as recognized as it is, and it’s been his pairing with Robert Downey Jr. in last year’s Due Date or his threesome with the remarkable Ed Helms and the suave Bradley Cooper that makes fans like myself feel better about making him an A-list director. Much like The Hangover Part 1, it’s this “modern day three stooges” that’s still one of the primary reasons this film works so well on a comedic level. They just play so well off of each other, their chemistry is unbeatable, and the fact that each one of the guys is just as funny as the other in different ways helps too. The underappreciated Ed Helms is a remarkable straight man as Stu, and his gross-out/freak-out reactions are still an uproarious staple of his character.Bradley Cooper, as an opposite to Zach’s far-left character, is calm and most importantly cool for the majority of the film just like last time, and allows his on-screen charm to carry him through. As I said earlier, it’s awesome that Galifianakis is getting the recognition he has been for this same role, and if you’ll watch any of his own stand-up bits on YouTube you’ll realize the guy has an incredibly sharp comedic mind. Just as you’d expect and much like last time, he’s the most bizarre character on screen and has most of the film’s best, most knee-slapping hilarious lines my hall mates will be citing well through August whenever school starts back. Ken Jeong as Chow also has a much larger part in this film than in Part One, which is a nice refresher from time to time popping into the story’s events without being annoying. Paul Giamatti even springs in about halfway through as a Russian crime boss, and while he doesn’t do particularly anything as interesting as he’s capable of, it’s still a fun bit. Being in Bangkok this time around, the film’s tone has also taken a much dimmer note. Instead of the barren deserts, brightly-lit and neon landscape that was Las Vegas last time around, Bangkok is a much filthier and grimier place, and we get to see this on every street corner, strip club and shipping port the guys visit. The buildings are filthy, the people are hostile, and it’s a rare sight that the Wolf Pack is in a building that doesn’t have electricity or more than 2 floors. It’s not exactly the most flattering portrayal of Asia, but the few shots that Phillips manages to get from the top of skyscrapers or a “P.F. Chang’s” monastery is a nice aesthetic touch. It’s great that Phillips seemed to want to raise the stakes and disparity of the situation just a little bit more by making it a more forlorn, dangerous and god-forsaken landscape, on top of the fact that no one speaks English. A lot of the greatest and funniest bits of the movie are also darker in spots. The 15 minutes we get before the gang gets to Thailand are pretty reminiscent of Hangover Part One even in joke tone, including a hilarious shot showing the jealousy between Allen and Stu’s new brother-in-law on the plane ride over. But after the beer bottles clink and we get the time lapse of the city over night just like in Part 1 as we know what’s to come, everything and I mean everything takes a turn for the worst, and by the worst I mean the funniest. The Hangover Part II pushes the boundary of “How far can we take this bit?” much farther than the original and ends up in some jaw-dropping places. Not to spoil any of the moments, but there’s a certain scene inside of a Bangkok strip club that you could almost tell by a rippling effect who discovered how that scene was going to end, and once that realization came it slowly sent laughter and shivers down our backs. It’s nowhere near unrecognizable compared to Part 1 (it’s still boys behaving badly through and through and for the most part it’s good clean drunken debauchery), you should know the film goes to some dark places in a few spots, pushing even its R rating. It’s interesting to also note that you could almost label The Hangover Part II as an action comedy. There are a handful of great action sequences in the film that are peppered in the trailer, greatly out-tailing the scope and action of the first film. There were a few spots that I felt like the new emphasis on action came at the expense of the humor, the ending credits clip show was a little bit disappointing, but there are still a slew of great laughs in this one, and the added action emphasis is appreciated, innovating on the comedy in a fun way. Plus it helps that Part II, much like Part One, is a genuinely funny film that’s only going to get funnier on repeated viewings, much like the first film, with expanded, yet still gut-bustingly hilarious set-ups for the Wolf Pack to overcome. I mentioned earlier that The Hangover Part II isn’t going to win any awards for originality, and I find that to be its biggest fault but also one of its best things about it. Much like the first film, The Hangover Part II has the same trio of guys waking up somewhere with no idea of what happened the night before. You could even argue that a lot of the plot elements are just duplicates, like how instead of a tiger there’s a monkey, instead of Chow there’s Paul Giamatti’s Russian gangster character, instead of a baby it’s a Thai monk, and so on. True, I think if Phillips had deviated from the formula just a little or tried something totally bold and crazy and made an entirely new format, we could have had an entirely new, fresh, and potentially amazing comedy, but these similarities that seem to really bother others with this film never really got to me. Sure, there were a few times in this one that I thought “Oh that thing’s like that thing from the original”, but it never got to the point where I thought I was being ripped off. Instead it became clear (at least to me) that Todd Phillips was patterning these new antics in a different, fresh way (and in many instances a darker way) that sometimes simply referenced the original in a demented, hilarious sort of way. In a lot of scenes it’s even part of the joke, and works to the joke’s benefit when both you and the character are thinking about the idea that they’ve already been through this torment. It’s almost like an inside joke between you and the Wolf Pack. Maybe that’s what I loved best about The Hangover Part II and what makes it better than the original in some regards, that it’s a loving work of fan service. They know what we love about these characters, and they give us more of it, polishing the bits that worked and tossing out the “dud” elements (however few there were) from the first film. Just like Part One, the movie opens with Phil calling Doug’s wife, telling her “we really screwed up this time, it’s bad”, and my midnight screening immediately burst into applause and tearful, anticipation-laced laughter. I love this movie, I love the wolf pack, and I’d be more than willing to see at least a half-dozen more hungover antics of this crew. And it doesn’t just rely on replicating the first film’s formula, it ratchets all the jokes to 11, widens the scale, pays homage to the things we love, gives us new things to love and new lines to quote, and tries its darn hardest to make sure each theater patron leaves satisfied. We know Phil, Stu, and Allen are screw-ups; it’s just great fun to see them again. The Hangover Part II, much like it’s wolf pack, is a real piece of work. I won’t be re-watching this movie months from now with friends because it’s the most original piece of comedic entertainment out there, but because it delivers and expands on what I love about this comedy series while pushing the envelope a little farther, daring to go there, and not being afraid to go the extra comedic mile. It’s a comedy I love waking up to.

4 out of 5

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More The Hangover Part II reviews
review by . February 19, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
If you have seen the first film there is probably no reason to see this one. But like Harold and Kumar, Hollywood will force meaningless sequels on the general public if the first film was a hit. This time Stu is getting married (again?) to a Thai lady and Stu and Doug are invited but Alan is not (again?). Stu and Doug go to Stu and persuade him to invite the even more obnoxious Alan (again). Of course the three will go out and have a drink and then wake up a day later with no clue what happened …
review by . May 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Did Murray Head teach you idiots anything?
The original Hangover movie was the new standard setter in comedies.  Much like how in the mid-ninties everyone wanted to do Farrelly Brother gross out movies and then American Pie raunchfests, now we have Hangover movies and sadly we have Hot Tub Time Machine as a result.  While I didn't love the first Hangover movie, I did like the concept of putting together the results of a crazy night against a ticking clock and it's reliance on actual jokes and not just littering the story …
review by . May 26, 2011
It has been two years since writer-director producer Todd Phillips unleashed the mother of all benders on audiences with The Hangover. The film about four buddies on a lost weekend in Vegas was a comedic tour de force that left audiences laughing from start to finish and went on to be the highest grossing R-rated film in history. Naturally when a film does this kind of business, thoughts turned to a sequel and Phillips has returned with the original cast and crew to follow up this comedy classic.   …
review by . May 25, 2011
They keep asking this question throughout the first half of the movie, and I found myself asking the same thing through the second half. In 2009 Todd Phillips had the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time, so asked himself why change a winning formula, and for those looking for more of the same, the answer is he didn't.      What was great about the first one was that, you had no idea what was coming. Each moment they tried to up the ante. Phillips had a hand in writing …
review by . May 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
There is something tragically sad when Hollywood feels the need to take a good thing and destroy it.  Granted the failure of Part II was not an epic fail, but it was close enough to have been a complete disappointment.       The Hangover Part II is one of those films that you go into hoping for something to be delightfully surprised by, and granted there were a few jokes that were quite shocking, but the overall effect of the film did not survive the curse of unnecessary …
review by . May 27, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Time to get off the sauce, fellas.
THE HANGOVER PART II   Written by Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong and Todd Phillips   Directed by Todd Phillips   Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis      Alan: I wish monkeys could Skype. Maybe one day.      I must begin by stating that I was not a big fan of The Hangover, the 2009 comedy sensation that would go on to become one of the biggest R-rated successes in history and put director, Todd Phillips, on the …
review by . May 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         One of the great failures of The Hangover Part II is that no one even attempted to make it original. Instead, director Todd Phillips settles for the path of least resistance and rehashes the exact same plot of the first movie. How is it possible that again the Wolfpack travels to a wedding away from home, and again they get drugged, and again they wake up in a strange place with no memory of the previous night’s events, and again lose an important …
review by . June 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   I'm not really getting Todd Phillips's intention besides getting more money. I can also dig a whole different ways to make money. I can dig remakes, I can dig retakes, I can dig sequels, I can dig prequels but I can't dig easy copies of movies you made before. Todd just did that. The ingredients to this comedy are the same.      Instead of Las Vegas you get Bangkok, instead of a bachelor party we get a... bachelor party, instead of missing Stu you get …
review by . June 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
15 - 102mins - Comedy - 26th May 2011   Hot off the heels of The Hangover, a massive summer success in 2008, The Hangover Part II reunites the wolfpack and the adventure begins all over again in another country and city.      This time around the setting is Thailand and Stu (Ed Helms) is the lucky groom to be. With the wedding taking place in Thailand to help Stu get along with his new relatives, the rest of the gang- Phil (Bradley Cooper), Doug (Justin Bartha) and Alan …
review by . May 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Much like its predecessor, “Hangover Part II” is a thoughtful reflection on the duality of human nature, and the darkness that lies within the best of people, and the prettiest of places.  On location in a beautiful paradise and just hours before a joyful event celebrating love, honor, respect and commitment between two people, three friends wake up to find themselves in a virtual hell, with no memory of the string of events that led them there.  What’s surprising is …
About the reviewer
Jake Wilbanks ()
Ranked #157
   My name's Jake, I write film reviews and the occasional music/video game/comic/tech review. I've been involved in journalism over the past 3 years, and am currently majoring in Journalism … more
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