Movie Review Monday: The Hangover Part II

Mike Finkelstein took a trip to…somewhere…  When he got there, he…um…not sure, actually…heh.  Damn…I’m sorry…I just woke up and I can’t remember a thin—AHHH!!!  Where did this tattoo come from?!?  AHHH!!!  (My review for “The Hangover: Part II”.)

PLOT: Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) are at it again.  In Thailand for Stu’s wedding, the wolfpack has a single drink on the beach, and wake up the next morning in Bangkok.  But this time, the stakes are raised when it isn’t Doug (Justin Bartha), but Stu’s bride’s little brother that goes missing.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW: THE HANGOVER was one of the biggest comedy hits of 2009, let alone the past decade.  It grossed $467 Million worldwide, and was appropriately called “The CITIZEN KANE of bachelor party movies.”  So when a sequel is put out a mere two years later, praised by the cast as wilder and crazier than the first, could it live up to the hype?

Sadly, it does not…

The boys are in Thailand for Stu’s wedding.  After one drink on the beach, they wake up in the middle of Bangkok with Stu’s bride’s 16-year-old brother missing.  Alan swears he didn’t do any drugging this time, so away we go, on the same trip as Las Vegas, except in a different country.

That’s the first big issue.  PART II is an exact mirror of THE HANGOVER.  You know you have a problem when the best part of the film comes during the setup before any plot kicks in.  Everything before Thailand was great.  It was original, new, and showed the boys in a new environment.  But then, in Thailand, take the structure of the first, replace any mention of “Las Vegas” with “Bangkok”, and “Doug” with “Teddy”, and you got the movie.  (This mashup shows just how serious I am…)  Granted, this isn’t anything new…HOME ALONE 2 and BACK TO THE FUTURE II are just a few examples of other movies that have done the same…but even those sequels went off the path at certain points and made you wonder what was going to happen.  Here, there is no change.  If anything, at least try to fool your audience into thinking something is original.  You know exactly what is going to happen, you know where the story is going, and like anything that lets you have the prize before you get to the winner’s circle, you just don’t really care anymore…

But, you ask hopefully, at least we can enjoy the hi-jinks, right…?  Even with that same structure as the first, everything just felt too damn farfetched and forced. In Vegas, everything that happened had a trail.  It may have been crazy, but you could see how the boys connected the dots and got from point A to point B, both the previous night and while figuring it all out.  That explanation is what made it so believable and fun.  This time, the story almost felt like a pumped up caricature of its former self…like Phillips was trying to think of the most ridiculous things the Wolfpack could do, and just plug those into the grid of the first script.  One incident with Stu, especially, which has already caused some controversy, completely shut me off.  All I can say is there were only gasps in the theater at that moment, and I was absolutely disgusted.  There’s a difference between pushing the limit and crossing the line, and that crossed the line.

But then what about the characters we love, you ask?  Stu, Phil and Doug are all back and great (especially Phil, who takes a much more responsible turn this time around).  Even Mr. Chow comes along for the ride (with some of the best lines, mind you).  But what the hell happened to Alan? In the first movie, he was a bumbling idiot who just wanted everyone to have fun.  This time, he’s just mean.  The stuff that he says to his mother is wrong…”I guess we don’t do dessert anymore”?  This movie is a guy’s movie through and through, so it doesn’t particularly need a feminine equal, but I completely agree with Nikki Cove’s editorial…that doesn’t mean you have to degrade women either.  That mixed with the way Alan legitimately wants to hurt Teddy just paints him as an obsessed psycho.  I’m sad I had to see him in this light, because I really won’t be able to look at him in Part I the same again now that I know what he’s capable of…

So with all these flaws, was there anything really good about the movie?  Don’t get me wrong, THE HANGOVER PART II definitely tried its best.  Todd Phillips knows how to make his movies look beautiful, and there are some decent laughs throughout that would make me buy it on DVD. (I especially loved the pictures at the end again.)  It’s just that they were overshadowed by all the bad.  You could tell that everyone came back had a blast filming, and I have no doubt that in all the interviews, Helms, Cooper and Galifianakis weren’t lying when they said they thought it’d be amazing and top the original.  But sadly, when the stakes aren’t there and your best friends are only figments of what they once were, there is no way to have lightning strike twice…


Mike’s LIKES:

1) TEDDY: Teddy was one character that was so simple and nice.  Nothing phased this kid, and he was just chill.  You couldn’t help but like him.

2) STU, DOUG, and PHIL: These three are back in form as usual.  It was nice to see the familiar characters, and their reactions to what they’re going through.

3) MIKE TYSON: I know the cameo was tacked on as a complete “Look at me, I’m making fun of myself” moment, but it was still amusing to see.


1) ALAN: I’m sorry, but this time around, the guy really isn’t likeable.  In the first one, he’s a bumbling idiot who cares, and he drugs everyone because he wanted them to have a good time.  This time, he’s just plain mean.  There really wasn’t anything about him that was redeeming in this movie, and that’s sad.

2) STU’S RENDEVOUS: No, I’m sorry…This wasn’t funny for one second to me.  There was a line that was crossed for the character, and that was the moment where I said “I’m done”

3) NO REPERCUSSIONS: In the first HANGOVER, the things that happened could be fixed.  Here, there were things that couldn’t be fixed…unless it’s conveniently in movie land, and all you need is an inspirational speech.

4) WEAK WEAK REASONING: I’m not surprising anyone when I say the movies are identically structurally, but with such a weak “OMG” moment, you’d expect more.


1) Mel Gibson was supposed to play the tattoo artist, but the idea was dropped following protests from the cast and crew. He was replaced by Liam Neeson, but when Todd Phillips wanted to reshoot Neeson’s scene, he was unavailable, due to filming of WRATH OF THE TITANS.  Nick Cassavetes now plays the tattoo artist.

2) Despite rumors, Bill Clinton does not have a cameo in the movie.

Post navigation

THE HANGOVER 3 Will Start Shooting This Summer, Everyone Gets a Raise!

Movie Review: Drive

Zach Galifianakis is Married!

Movie Review Monday: Scream 4