The Hangover Part II Movie Review

Proving that 2009's The Hangover was a fluke, this sequel returns to filmmaker Todd Phillips' more usual mean-spirited style, abandoning laughs for a series of painfully awkward scenarios held together by a contrived plot.

Having finally put the embarrassment of "that" weekend in Las Vegas behind him, Stu (Helms) is ready to settle down with fiance Lauren (Chung), who's planning their romantic wedding in Thailand. But after a night drinking on the beach, Stu wakes up in a Bangkok flat with fast-thinking friend Phil (Cooper), nutcase Alan (Galifianakis), an eerily smart monkey and Mr Chow (Jeong), the criminal who caused such chaos in Vegas. The problem is that Lauren's 16-year-old brother Teddy (Mason Lee) is missing. But what exactly happened last night?

From the darkly ominous prologue through to the climactic resolution, this movie urges us to laugh at violence and cruelty. But Alan's sociopathic obsessions, Stu's panicky hysterics and Chow's full-on bravado elicit more squirms than laughter. The jokes involving Buddhist monks, lady boys and Russian gangsters simply aren't funny unless you're happy to chuckle at things you don't understand. And instead of witty gross-out gags, Phillips tries to find humour in bone-dry crassness.

In other words, the original movie's screenwriters (Jon Lucas and Scott Moore) are sorely missed. Instead, this script tries so hard to force the plot that every scene feels manufactured, like a videogame in which you have to solve carefully presented clues to find the next clue. While it's sometimes mildly amusing, the story lacks both pace and flow, charging from one set piece to another. And characters continually note that "it's happened again" to convince us that this is just as funny as the first time round.

This sweaty, grubby film's one ace is Cooper, who creates the only likeable character (besides the sidelined Bartha and Lee). Giamatti looks almost embarrassed as a wacky gangster who's involved in the chaos, although the character makes sense later on. And Tyson's cameo is jaw-dropping. The first movie wasn't exactly a masterwork, but at least the absurd mayhem was hilarious. This one, on the other hand, only makes us wonder why we found that film so funny.


The Hangover Part II Rating

" Grim "

Rating: 15, 2011


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