As the title suggests the only thing to differentiate the second installment of the Hangover series is the addition of the number indicating it is a sequel. Yet the cleverness of director Todd Phillips’ film may lie in the very similarity to the first film and the way the Hangover Part II uses the same plot twists, characters and scenarios makes it a worthy follow-up.
Just as in the film The Hangover, the story is based around the days leading up to the wedding of one of the main characters. Stu (played by Ed Helms) seems to have the perfect wedding lined up as he and his groomsmen travel to the Thailand where his beautiful bride-to-be awaits. As in the first film, his mates Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Doug (Justin Bartha) reluctantly bring along the eccentric, unpredictable Alan (played hilariously by Zach Galifianakis, who stoke the show in The Hangover), who was responsible for the mayhem the crew landed themselves in, in Vegas. Likewise, we see all the same plot twists: the boys waking up drunk with no memory of the night before and the narrative follows their adventures as they try to piece together the incidents that have landed them in a mess.
Once you get over the fact that the same storyline more or less is unfolding, this time in Bangkok rather than Las Vegas, the movie becomes an enjoyable romp. In fact it seems the director uses the viewers’ familiarity with the characters and scenarios of the first film to generate additional laughs. This time instead of breaking into Mike Tyson’s house, to steal his white tiger, the boys break into a monastery and kidnap an aging monk. So there are plenty of references to the first film which are used almost as in jokes.
That being said one can’t help but feel it’s a lot more contrived this time around. Many of the jokes fall flat and the characters now are more familiar and their vulgarity more offensive or abrasive than humorous. Overall, it would be hard to reproduce the same originality and exquisite humour of the first film, but The Hangover Part II is worth seeing if you enjoyed the first installment and are curious to see a sequel that repeats almost every idea from the original film without losing its appeal.
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