Much like a wild night of partying that you enjoyed a whole lot but probably shouldn’t attempt to repeat, The Hangover Part II was possibly ill-conceived from the start.
I loved the first one, for its audacity and gleeful debauchery, but also the cleverness of its Agatha Christie-goes-to-a-bachelor-party-in-Vegas-style plot.
This latest installment—which finds the boys in Bangkok—follows the original’s structure to a tee. I get that choice—in some ways, fans would feel cheated if they didn’t get to see a glassy eyed Phil (Bradley Cooper) moaning into the phone: “It happened again.”
But the film can hardly be bothered to even slightly deviate from the original formula.
So instead of a missing groom, they have lost the precocious 16-year-old brother of Stu's (Ed Helms) fiancée.
Instead of a pulled tooth, there’s a chopped off finger, and an ill-advised Mike Tyson tattoo. (Ill-advised for both the character and the film—the original tattoo artist is suing the producers.)
Instead of a funny chicken and baby, there’s a funny monkey and a silent monk that Alan (Zach Galifiankes) can have his way with.
And so on.
The first film was plenty extreme, of course, so director Todd Phillips and co. feel compelled to make this one extrem-er. It’s fair to say that, in this case, some of the cocaine binges, nasty transvestite jokes, animal cruelty, and real-life consequences of the boys’ zany antics, gave me a bit too much of a hangover.