Wedding approaching fast, raise your drinks up, cue hip-hop music, shot of the city lights and blackout. Sound familiar? The only difference between The Hangover Part 2 and its prequel is the number 2. There is a reason you don’t make a sequel to a film like The Hangover, that being the impossibility of ever creating something fresh from a very specific structure.
This time around it is the dentist Stu (Ed Helms) getting ready for his wedding, but instead of Vegas, the Wolfpack head on over to Thailand for the wedding.
The humour is more crass, the storylines for each character become a lot less individual, and the result is something not too pleasing. The roles are reprised from the first instalment: ringleader Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu with a special affinity to sex workers, father to be Doug (Justin Bartha) who plays an insignificant part in the antics of the sequel, and last but not least, Wolfpack creator Alan (Zach Galifianakis).
It is the latter who manages to break through the sterility of the film with the awkwardness that characterised his role in part one. Twisting words and providing inappropriateness of the highest order, Galifianakis is the source of much of the comedy. The high point is definitely his relationship with the cigarette-smoking monkey, wearing a Rolling Stones denim jacket, reminiscent of Galifianakis and the baby from part one.
Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) makes a welcome appearance as camp and eccentric Chinese mobster. The high-pitched drug addict warrants a few chuckles from his attire alone, making a criminal transaction in a hoody and cravat. In a Fast and Furious-esque moment, Chow gains sexual excitement from a thrilling car chase. Nothing too surprising, but still funny.
But ultimately, The Hangover Part 2 lacks any zest that characterised the first film. There are moments of complete doziness, where the film falls asleep, filled by characters that waste screen space like the drug dealer or Paul Giamatti’s undercover cop chatacter. Even Mike Tyson is there just for the sake of making an appearance.
The film ends on a familiar note, with the slideshow of the night’s pictures. It is like watching part one, stripped of the vitality, humour, and relationships that made The Hangover the barrel of laughs that it was. Just as the gang forget their night, The Hangover Part 2 is a truly forgettable film.
See more reviews here