The Hangover II – Todd Phillips (2011)


In a way, it’s hard to believe guys like this actually exist. I don’t mean that in a just world guys like this wouldn’t exist, because I personally have no stake in it either way, but in the way that it’s hard to believe that super models actually exist in the flesh. I mean, they must, if only in secret, because places like Vegas exist and the root of these films comes from a true (supposedly) crazy bachelor party weekend, but I’ve never met any of them. Thanks to the magic of movies, I don’t have to.

The movie gods have brought the boys to Thailand this time, and set them lose on the streets of Bangkok to drink themselves into amnesia, losing Stu’s (Ed Helms) sixteen-year-old soon-to-be brother in law, Teddy (Mason Lee), along the way.  In order to find him and save the wedding the boys must once again retrace their steps and endure the wacky hijinks and have profound discoveries of self to find the keys that they cannot remember.

The major complaint with The Hangover II seems to be that it’s basically the same exact film as the first one. But I honestly don’t see that as being a valid complaint because it’s laid right out for you in the trailer. You have been warned. You should know from the glut of sequels to wacky comedies anyway. The whole feel of the movie — just like every other comedy sequel — is, “whoops, we did it again, only worse.” That’s the promise made, and that’s exactly what the movie delivers. Whether that’s your cup of tea or not isn’t up to the filmmakers.

Everything, in fact, from the first movie is back again — the good, the bad and the ugly, but this time the ugly is a little uglier, and more bald. But this time, instead of a tiger there’s a drug dealing monkey who holds the key to finding Teddy.

But the bottom line is this: it was true of the first film, and true of this one. The slideshow of pictures at the end were the only really, truly worthwhile moments.

There are laughs throughout the film, though, I won’t deny that, but they are mostly empty, easy laughs. The kind of laughs that are so easy that in Talking Funny (HBO’s comedy documentary featuring Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK and Ricky Gervais talking about their stand up careers) the comedians spend 10 minutes talking about how they refuse to keep this kind of material in their act despite it killing night in night out. There is no real skill in creation involved, just skill in execution. Who could say that this wasn’t executed flawlessly?

That’s what this film boils down to, though: crowd pleasing, easy jokes. Pay your $13, click off you brain, and laugh at the monkey. If you didn’t expect that, it’s kind of your own fault.