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For Your Video-Buying Information: A Look Back at "The Hangover Part II"

By admin Published: December 6, 2011

The sequel to "The Hangover" is on video today, so I am posting my review of the movie when it reached theaters. From the Akron Beacon Journal, May 26, 2011:

The Hangover Part II is a sluggish sequel of the comedy hit The Hangover, an attempt to recreate the magic of the 2009 comedy smash by basically making the same movie over again.

The raunchiness level remains high — so high that an NC-17 seems barely adequate, let alone the R it miraculously received. There is a big laugh or two. Ed Helms plays screaming panic very well, and Zach Galifianakis is utterly convincing as a clueless goofball. You may even like the chain-smoking monkey. But there are long dead stretches — and far too many jokes where the setups give away the payoff; any reasonably smart audience is going to be way ahead of the characters most of the time.

Continues after the jump.
The plot has Stu (Helms) preparing to get married in Thailand. Buddies Phil (Bradley Cooper), Doug (Justin Bartha) and Alan (Galifianakis) all come along, but Stu is determined to avoid the chaos of The Hangover; his bachelor party is breakfast at IHOP. But things do not go well once everyone gets to Thailand. Stu's future father-in-law is unceasingly hostile, and when the guys gather for one beer on the beach, the result is all too familiar to them.

As in the first movie, the guys awake in bad circumstances with no memory of what happened. They then have to reconstruct the events — if only to find Teddy (Mason Lee), the younger brother of Stu's bride, who has disappeared during their blackout period. They get tangled up with an old acquaintance — Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) — and move erratically along a path that includes a ruined nightclub, a tattoo parlor, a strip club, criminal encounters, a severed finger and, of course, the monkey.

The Hangover Part II comes into theaters blessed with the huge good will resulting from the first movie, which was the most lucrative live-action comedy of 2009 (and sixth most successful movie overall that year); the theater where I previewed it was packed with enthusiastic moviegoers.

But — as directed by Todd Phillips, who was also at the helm of the original Hangover, and written by Phillips with Craig Mazin (Scary Movie 3, Superhero Movie) and Scot Armstrong (Semi-Pro) — the movie has little of the inventiveness and zest of its predecessor. Its lack of interest in a plot is especially glaring; even though a big comedy like this need not rely heavily on its story, The Hangover Part II goes out of its way to establish situations that it doesn't have the energy to carry through.

Some of the actors give their all, including Helms and Jeong. Galifianakis tries hard but is locked into a character whose inanity is so unrelenting that it becomes tiresome. Cooper gives a by-the-numbers performance, and Bartha is barely in the movie. Overall, The Hangover Part II is a movie concept that hangs around far too long.

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