Movie Mind Says: Buy It
If You Like This You Should Watch: Very Bad Things, Bachelor Party (1984)
Better Than: Due Date, Get Him to the Greek
Worse Than: The Hangover (but not by much)
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong
After seeing the first summer (or late spring) blockbuster this past weekend, The Movie Mind came back hopefully optimistic and pleasantly satisfied. Far too frequently these days we see movie trailers that set high expectations only to let us down after shelling out $14 to see it. The Hangover Part II delivers exactly what we expected and I must say, it did not disappoint in the least bit. Naturally, you will read plenty of diatribes focusing on the similarities to the original, and while there are plenty, I will add that in sheer entertainment value, this new rendition delivers in all aspects. How crazy of The Movie Mind to think that the most important thing in a film, let alone a comedy, is to provide entertainment…my bad!
First let us address the barbs and naysayers so we can lay them in front of you potential theatergoers and allow you to appreciate this film for what it is – a hilarious follow-up to the original movie. It was in this very website that I claimed The Hangover was one of the top 10 movies of the last decade, yet I am not quite willing to put Part II in that category… unless you never saw the original. If this is your first foray into The Hangover franchise (yes, it’s now a franchise), then it is definitely that good. Understandably, there are plenty of similarities and identical plot twists, but the jokes are new, raw and further developed. For those of us who were rocked out of our seats by the comedy in the first version, we will experience the same in this take. Still, the added bonuses we got in the first go-round of sheer originality, off the wall plot twists, and new characters, are naturally not quite as much of a shocker in the second turn.
What the pundits seem to disregard is that we, the audience, already know that there’s another bachelor party, something goes horribly awry, and it’s a rat race to find the missing person amidst the chaos in a crazy new land. By the way, if that’s a spoiler alert then you really need to check your expectations and probably get your movie advice elsewhere. Yet where the new version has an advantage over its predecessor is that we already know these characters and have developed some form of connection to them. After all, isn’t that why we came back to see this movie anyway? This next debacle becomes more about reminiscing and finding ways to break out some new jokes while still staying true to the characters that made us crack up in the first place. This is more like an audience reunion where you see friends you haven’t talked to in a while and yet it feels like you never lost a beat once you all get together and crack open the first beer.
While the storyline is almost identical, the setting merely comes down to Vegas vs. Bangkok and I find it quite amusing how we’re not really sure which locale would be more realistic for the activities that are depicted. The full ensemble cast is back, and instead of wasting too much screen time with Doug (Justin Bartha), who was sort of useless in the first one, they fill it in with and increased role for some of the original scene-stealers (namely, Mr. Chow). After replacing a baby with a monkey (the monkey is much more amusing), ramping up Ed Helms’ role as more of the focus and butt (quite literally) of the jokes, adding a dose more weirdness from Zach G., and the built-in comedy and novelty of a foreign land, that all makes this film hilarious. I will say however, that the sequel definitely had some darker elements to it than the original, as Mike Tyson is no longer the meanest dude in the film and a police station seems like the least of the guys worries. Nonetheless, that brings a certain new feel to the story, as there is much more real danger and real consequence than in the original. See, there’s the missing originality you critics have been whining about. Now go have a laugh and stop taking yourselves so damn seriously!
Interesting Cameo Appearance: Paul Giamatti (Oscar nominee and star from Sideways and Saving Private Ryan, taking a comedic turn) as Kingsley, a pseudo-gangster who throws the hangover-gang’s plans into flux when his business deal with Mr. Chow goes bad.
Phil: It happened again.
Tracy: Seriously what is wrong with you three?
Stu: All I wanted was a bachelor brunch.
Alan: This is kind of nice, isn’t it? Three of us back together again?
Stu: Oh God.
Alan: Hey Everybody, here’s some fun facts: The population of Thailand is 63 million people. It is twice the size of Wyoming. None of you know Stu like I do. I can’t even tell you what we’ve been through because we made pact. What I can tell you is this. This is not Stu’s first marriage. There was a whore in Las Vegas a couple of years – [Interrupted by Phil]
Phil: All right, time’s up. Time to sit down, buddy.
Phil: Chow! What are you doing here?
Alan: He’s my plus one.
Chow: We had a sick night bitches!
Stu: I have a demon in me.
Alan: When a monkey nibbles on a weenis, it’s funny in any language.
Alan: Man, I don’t smoke but it looks so cool on a monkey.
Alan: I wish monkeys could Skype…maybe someday.