2009 ushered in the breakout comedy The Hangover. A tale of recollected debauchery that went on to become the highest earning R-rated comedy and make stars out of Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis. Maybe, and this isn’t much of a stretch, there’s something wrong with me because I didn’t find it all that funny. The laughs were all frontloaded, the characters idiotic, and by film’s end the photo reel accompanying the credits confirmed to this viewer that the best parts of the narrative had been cut.
It’s 2011 and Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married to Lauren (Jamie Chung). Thing is the wedding is in Thailand and that means the gang fondly known as the Wolfpack is going to have a go with the infamous city of Bangkok. When a simple drink by the beach turns into a night full of regret, the Wolfpack awake in a trashed hotel room to find the bride’s little brother missing. Does this sound familiar?
As with the original, there are some legit laughs to save the film from total brain deadening monotony. I found most of them to come from Galifianakis, who plays Alan with a childlike sense of wonder. Think of him as a 40 year old Eric Cartman, halfway capable of understanding his situation but bright enough to intentionally harass people.
These guys boldly state that they like to party, which can’t be doubted, but they lack originality. How many times must they repeat their mistakes? How many of their problems can be solved like a beer commercial with no long-term impact? I’ll go on a limb and suggest that director Todd Philips was ordered by the studio to keep this on a leash.
The Hangover Part II is the most derivative comedy sequel I have ever seen. Only B slasher films have had such tight copy and paste plotlines. It’s bad enough that the events of a second hangover involve the search for a missing friend yet again, but when the details are merely a substitute for a previous event or gag, yeah that’s a sign of a weak script. But don’t take my word for it, you need not look further than the drug dealing monkey that Alan takes a liking toward. It’s the perfect substitute to the baby found in the hotel room in the original. Speaking of which, they awake in another hotel room. Yet again the Wolfpack negotiate with a gangster for the supposed release of their friend. Instead of a tooth pulled, there’s a tattoo. Instead of a missing groom, there’s the bride’s brother. If The Hangover Part III even involves a wedding, we should all oversleep. **