The Hangover Part II
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Written by: Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong, & Todd Phillips (screenplay)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha
I swear I wrote this review a few days ago, but here goes nothing. The Wolf Pack packs up for another wedding, this time Stu’s (Ed Helms), and go on another drunken rage, this time in Bangkok, Thailand.
If you thought their masculinity was under fire in the first installment, wait until you get a whiff of transvestite prostitutes and staff wielding monks. They are strangers in a strange land, and xenophobia set in long before the plane landed.
Director Todd Phillips, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong, utilizes the change of scenery to make some fine compositions, but sadly he mostly uses it to make bad Asian jokes. Stu’s future brother-in-law goes missing during their black-out this time, and apparently the Bangkok police are so inept and self-loathing they confuse a 90-year-old monk with a 17-year-old premed student.
All the actors can do in the wake of such corruption and stupidity is shriek with horror and look perplexed, except of course Alan (Zach Galifianakis) who continues to use his perverse passive aggressive ways to both comic and demented ends. Galifianakis continues to walk away with scenes in the sequel, although Helms holds his own. Bradley Cooper, with his shirt unbuttoned and his sunglasses donned, serves his intended purpose.
Of course the sequel to an already mediocre laugh-fest will be even more mediocre. It came as no surprise, and frankly neither did the foreign fear buried just beneath the surface. Todd Phillips, for all his comedic wit and filmmaking talent, conceals a lot of white male bitterness within his films. Phil (Cooper) seems to represent this value most fully, fuming at the very idea that a friend of his wants to branch out and get married in Thailand. “And then looks what happens!” you can almost hear him and Phillips say when they wake up in a scummy hotel room again with no clue about what happened the night before.
Taste isn’t something this movie embraces, choosing instead to reach out its arms to the R rating and push even harder than the first film. The problem is, that first one was actually quite funny, especially compared to this. Instead, the physical comedy is replaced with action sequences and genitalia.
Phillips, choosing to take the safe zone of familiarity and taking risks only with pushing the taste envelope, has crafted a sequel that sacrifices most of what made the first one marginally appealing. Paul Giamatti stops by as a crime boss, as does the monkey from the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Both of them add some variety to proceedings that feel mandatory instead of amusing. It feels like we’re being taken through the paces instead of being entertained. You may want to overdose on some ADHD medication so you don’t remember it.