The Hangover Part 2 is exactly the type of movie that Film Snobs hate. First, it’s a sequel. Snobs hate sequels as much as they hate made for TV movies, It’s just beneath them. They’ll also hate Hangover 2 because on some level it seems to be a remake/ bigger budget re-imagining of the first one and lord knows that “Film Snobs” hate remakes of any sort no matter how good they may be. When I say that this movie is re-imagining, I don’t mean they touch on some of the same themes and the character arcs are similar, I literally mean they have taken scenes from the first movie and re-shot them for this movie without so much as a second thought. Remember that tiger in the first one? Now it’s a monkey. Remember when Stu married that prostitute in the first one, well let’s just say Stu has some issues and leave it at that. The one thing that Film Snobs won’t mention in their reviews of this film is that despite the trappings of rehashing/sequelizing the Hangover Part 1, The Hangover Part 2 is at times a very funny movie. It won’t win any awards or change anyone’s life with it’s message, but it’s really not intended to do that. This movie was made to make you laugh and it delivers that in spades.
People who have seen Part 1 will be very familiar with the plot of Part 2. Stu is getting married and has invited the gang to Thailand to celebrate and share his special moment. The gang’s all here, they introduce the curmudgeonly father in law, bla, bla, bla. None of that matters. The only thing you should care about in this movie is what happens between the time the guys wake up in a rundown hotel room with no memory of the night before and the photo montage that runs during the closing credits. Usually character development is important and we want to get to know everyone and their motivations but that doesn’t matter here. The opening 30 minutes of the movie is actually the weakest point of the film and if you can sit through that and not totally lose interest in what’s about to happen, you are in for some good laughs.
The plot of this movie seems to be based entirely on the premise of “bigger is better”. Director Todd Phillips has gone out of his way to try and outdo his previous film in every way possible. The gags are more risque, the action sequences are bigger, and the over the top characters are way more over the top and that’s not always a good thing. One of the things I enjoyed from the first film was the nuanced idiocy of Zach Galifianakis. His humor really stood out in the first film because it was restrained. He was a supporting character who popped in from time to time to move the plot along and say some awkwardly hilarious things and that worked really well. In part 2, not so much. While he is still funny at times, His character is much more in the fore front of the story therefore his lines and awkward jokes and dialogue are more the focus making his character very hit or miss. When the jokes work they are really funny, when they don’t it seems forced and at times very unnecessary.
The stand out in this film is definitely Ed Helms. His journey from awkward soon to be husband to a fearless wild man willing to take on the darker side of Bangkok Thailand was a joy to watch. The very thing that didn’t work for me with Galifianakis worked great with Helms. With the focus squarely on him and the search for his missing brother in-law he really shines. Ed Helms plays up the everyman on the verge of a breakdown as good as anybody in Hollywood. His ability to flip a switch and go from brow beaten loser to wild man rioting in the streets is entertaining and has me looking forward to seeing more from him in the future, as long as it’s not in The Hangover Part 3.
The Hangover Part 2 is by no means a perfect movie. It struggles at times to separate itself from part one and occasionally drags when moving from one joke setup to the next but what it does do well is deliver funny moments that fans of the movie will be quoting for a while. If you’re looking for a good laugh and don’t mind seeing an ample dose of penis then round up a group of friends and check this movie out. You won’t be alone in enjoying what will probably be one of the bigger movies of the summer.