The Hangover Part II (2011)
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Written by: Craig Mazin, Jon Lucas, Scot Armstrong, Scott Moore, Todd Phillips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, Mike Tyson, Paul Giamatti, Zach Galifianakis
When The Hangover opened up way back in 2009, no one and I mean no one expected it to be the hit it was. The fact that it became the highest grossing R-Rated comedy of all time, beating a long time record by Beverley Hills Cop stunned the film studio who immediately ordered a sequel. The film itself has become a benchmark for all other comedies to follow. You can not see a new release on the screen without the tag “This year’s Hangover!” attached to it, and while fans and critics have lavished the praise on such a fresh and really funny comedy, the premise itself was not built for a long term franchise.
For Director and Writer Todd Phillips, being asked to do a follow up is a pretty thankless task! Already when it was announced that the original trio of Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms had signed on the dotted line to reprise their role, there was the same thought ringing through the minds of fans everywhere and me included in how can “the same shit happen to the same guys twice?”, but then this is a dilemma that has gone through films before. I mean how the heck could those parents leave their son Kevin “Home Alone!” for a second time? how could John McClane stumble upon a group of Terrorists on Christmas Eve in a second year on a row? But it did happen, and those films were once again huge hits, a tradition that The Hangover Part II carried on when it outdone its original at the box office by a few $100m dollars.
You see the beauty about these films is that they are written for the fans who made the original such a success. There is no need to change the formula and plot structure, just make the same film but this time bigger and louder. When the credits roll for the first time in this film and we see Phil (Cooper) on the phone and uttering the words “we fucked up, its happened again!” and the camera pans to see Stu (Helms) and Alan (Zach) behind him looking worse for wear you know what is coming from the off and this what the joke is all about, the fact that it does happen again to these guys. Yes the critics may put their noses up to the lazy plotting but this was not made for them, this is for everyone who loved the original and luckily I was one of them!
Fans will know the score, there is a wedding due this time’s Stu’s who wisely does not want a bachelor party (after the events of the original) and all the original gang turn up in Thailand for the big party. After a calm start, the gang along with the brides brother Teddy go down to the beach to have just one beer like planned and then have an early night. We see them drink, the camera pans up and then the nightmare starts. Phil Stu and Alan wake up with an even worst hangover than before and this time poor young Teddy instead of Doug is missing, only leaving the gang a chopped off finger with a clue of what happened the night before.
Can the trio find Teddy? What happened during the night? Will Stu get back before the wedding?
Seen the original?
The Hangover Part II is a case of “if its not broke…….”, and yes the freshness that the original brought to the table is long but gone, but I have seen plenty of awful comedies this year and this is not one of them. The cast have terrific chemistry, its directed well by Phillips and it kept me well entertained through out and while I was glad that the hangover was not over yet, stretching it to a planned third may well see me reaching for the paracetamol pills!