The Hangover was not a great movie. Shut up, no it wasn’t. It was a funny movie, that much is true, but as far as things like plot and character development are concerned, well, let’s put it this way: if you took everything from when the guys are on the roof to when they are driving back from Vegas, threw it away and replaced it with something completely different, you would be left with the exact same movie. Which is fine. As far as gag delivery systems go, The Hangover is tops. But where do you go with a sequel?
Well (and this should come as no surprise), they decided to go the “same, but bigger” route. So the movie we are left with hits a lot of the same beats. Let’s see, bizarre facial mutilation for Ed Helms? Check. Small lifeform for Zack Galifianakis to tote around? Check. Montage of pictures detailing the forgotten night? Check. Sardonic, yet strangely earnest song by Stu? Check. Mike Tyson cameo? Check. Ken Jeong’s junk? Check.
If that looks like a lot of sameness, you’re right. The Hangover Part II is very similar to it’s predecessor, and the law of diminishing returns is very much in play here. Whereas my face actually hurt when I left the theater after the first one, there was no danger of that happening this time around. Don’t get me wrong, chuckles (and the occasional guffaw) were had, and quite frequently, but even the best joke stops being hilarious after you’ve heard it several times.
So what, then, about the bits not blatantly cribbed from the first film? Well, there’s not a ton, but what is there is pretty damn funny. Most of it heavy on the raunch, which actually works in the film’s favor, because the one truly new beat that the sequel hits is plenty hysterical and was virtually impossible to spoil in the trailers (if you’ve seen it, you probably know what I’m talking about).
Also there’s a monkey, and if you can’t mine humor out of a monkey (especially one as expressive as the one they found), well then you should just give up and move back into your parents’ basement and just stay there so we don’t have to deal with you anymore (too harsh?). And of course, the chemistry between the three leads remains strong as ever, but where the humor was pretty evenly spread amongst them the first time, Galifianakis does pretty much all the heavy lifting in this outing (and Justin Bartha remains a non-entity).
But it is pretty funny, and that’s really all that matters (well, that and good box office numbers, which, check). There’s no real important plot developments, but there weren’t in the first one either. What we’re left with is a less successful, yet still worthy follow-up to one of the most impossibly funny movies to come out in recent memory. It always had a tall hill to climb, and so you can’t really blame it for chickening out and taking the path already cleared by the first one, even if all the useful materials on that path had already been cleared out, leaving very little for the sequel to provide to the audience that they hadn’t already seen and… you know what, on second thought, skip this. Go see Bridesmaids instead.
Posted under Kyle's Adventures in Pop Culture
This post was written by Kyle on May 31, 2011