The Hangover: Part II (2011) – Now with more bitter aftertaste.
All throughout the movie, characters in this re-heated pseudo-sequel to 2009′s R-rated comedy juggernaut claim that the city of Bangkok is the villain. As if it’s the one causing all the trouble and mayhem. Naturally, it’s the trio of nit-wits who are piecing their selfish and irresponsible lives together following a second bender who are to blame. But the real hoodlum that should be held responsible for the creation of this terrible dark film are the people who decided to make the exact same film only more vicious and sloppy.
American audiences got a taste of the dark side of film a while back, one of my friends suggested, when Jigsaw decided to try to “teach people lessons about themselves” by forcing SEVEN films featuring torture porn one right after another down our throats. This evil started to seep into other genres. Pineapple Express would have been a great stoner comedy if it wasn’t so brutally realistic in its violence. Reality television is populated with people being as nasty as possible, and audiences continue to eat it up.
So right off the bat, I think Hangover 2, with it’s underlying message of live it up as recklessly as possible and it’ll prove your a man, is a fucking horrible concept. Even if it’s attached to a comedy we’re not really supposed to take seriously. But how easy is it for me to ignore that this time the Wolfpack takes a 16-year-old along for their drug and alcohol induced ride? And just what was the point of having the evening replayed in flashback using child-versions of Phil, Stu, and Alan other than to reinforce the concept while trying to be as offensive as possible?
See, that’s where this movie fails beyond just the laziness of just repeating the general scheme of the first one. It’s not just that little set pieces were exchanged for other ones: monkey instead of tiger, face tattoo instead of missing tooth, etc. The real problem is that everyone involved is trying so hard to push the envelope, very little of the jokes are actually all that funny. Ken Jeong is being a silly racist caricature, Ed Helms is taking his squeamish straight man let loose routine over the top, and Zack Galifianakis just barely manages to get a few chuckles out of me. It’s like they forgot that just being outrageous isn’t enough, there has to be some resemblance of substance there as well. And you can’t get that when you repeat your first movie almost identically.
At least there were chicks with dicks, though even that was beyond telegraphed.
The Hangover: Part II will make a gazillion dollars at the box office and there will be plenty of people who love the movie. They’ll talk about how it was so funny, they laughed so hard they pissed their pants. But they’re also the type that’ll want to show you photos of the act on Facebook, because they think it’s soooo edgy and cool. Yeah, maybe the first time we saw it.
I’ll be straight up honest: I didn’t like The Hangover. I thought it was over-hyped and really not much to write home about. Back then it got a C- and I recall considering walking out it was so offensive and pointless. All that didn’t stop it from raking in almost a half-billion worldwide.
This style of movie is a convergence of the Tina Fey generation of comedy writers and the R-rated comedy run that started probably with Wedding Crashers and has not let up. They are the comedies with no jokes, just funny/gross/offensive/wacky – you name it – as long as you don’t have to actually put in the effort of writing a single funny line of dialog.
Here we go on Part 2. In a particularly good choice, I went to the crack-head cinema. I’ve yet to see a good movie at this theater and I didn’t think anything was going to change. Turns out crack-heads are within the target audience. The place was packed and roared with laughter throughout the entire movie. I was a little island of silence in the middle of a jovial (high) crowd. I managed one “heh” at some Galifianakis line, but it was Part 1 all over again. And I mean that literally – it was the same story in every way, just set in a different city. They wake up after a wild bender, someone’s missing, all is well by the end.
The difference that gave The Hangover a C- was a bit of heart, some personal growth, and a little bit of dramatic tension. Phil has to own up to what happened, Stu broke up with his controlling girlfriend to pursue his wife/stripper with a heart of gold. I know you’re saying “But this is a comedy, Fat Man! There’s no plot needed!!” Sure, if it’s complete non-sequitur comedy, but any narrative (comedy or not) need to have some plot structure and a reason to exist. All that development is all thrown out the window in Part 2 where they are all great friends already, Stu has dumped his mistake of the past and they apparently have not learned a single thing about honesty. Bottom line: I don’t care how cool a woman is, none of this is instantly okay. With some time, maybe. Right away? Absolutely not. The characters reverted to their selfish lying selves that we saw at the beginning of Part 1. Also, extreme irresponsibility, last I checked, does not increase the respect of someone who has no respect for you to begin with. You know, just in case you were planning something wild to impress your boss and get that big raise.
The Hangover Part II is just another R-rated comedy that begs the question “Can you call it a comedy if there are no jokes?”
The Fat Man gives this pile: