Is it possible to catch lightning in a bottle twice? Warner Brothers and director Todd Phillips certainly hope so where The Hangover Part II is concerned. This is the inevitable sequel to the most successful R-rated comedy of all time. If one thing can be said about Phillips, who had a hand in writing the script, is that he knows how to follow a blueprint. While this film is not necessarily a remake of the first entry, it makes sure to include every single plot twist and element from the previous entry, to the point that we can predict what’s coming far too often.
The biggest hurdle the story faces is coming up with a plausible set of circumstances that would lead Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Allen (Zack Galifianakis) to embark on another night of debauchery and mayhem before suffering a mind-erasing blackout. The location switches to Bangkok as Stu is set to walk down the aisle with his Thai bride Lauren (Jamie Chung). And the circumstances that lead to an evening in which these three lose Stu’s future brother-in-law Teddy (Mason Lee)? Well, let’s just say that as far as these films go, it’s all logical enough to earn a pass so the fun can begin.
Unfortunately, far too much time is spent setting up the extended gags and things don’t kick into high gear until the one-hour point. Still, it must be said that the Wolf Pack delivers plenty of laughs from that moment on, the highlights being another musical ditty from Helms, while the film does manage to shock with a sexual escapade fitting for Bangkok.
The Hangover Part II isn’t necessarily a bad film – it’s very well acted, interesting to look at and delivers exactly what its audience expects. Yet that’s what proves to be its downfall as the movie winds up being a victim of its own success. The surprises were the thing that propelled the first one, and with little new to offer, this comedy sputters and lurches. In sticking to its formula, it winds up eschewing its subversive streak, which is what made it such a success in the first place.
Contact Chuck Koplinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.