Thank God The Hangover Part II is good. We don’t need any more summer disappointments. This is everything we loved about The Hangover and more all new epic, outrageous comedy.
First of all, the film does a great job of handling how the exact same thing happens again. The characters acknowledge it just enough without being all, “Remember the last time we passed out and had to piece back the comic misadventures of the night before?” The only excuse they need is “it’s still funny,” so they don’t dwell on the explanation.
It is nice to see more of the wolf pack’s everyday interaction, including how they’ve coped with the history of Vegas. Phil’s (Bradley Cooper) basically the same but Doug (Justin Bartha) is happily married and Stu (Ed Helms) is now completely overprotective. Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is a definitive personality with his pronunciation of Thailand and random Doogie Howser jokes, and, as destructive as he is, he’s also sweet and protective.
They really build another mystery, even though we’ve already seen Stu’s face tattoo and Alan’s shaved head on the poster. The catch phrases on the poster aren’t spoilers either. “I have a demon in me” comes up in a totally different context than I imagined it would. The script by Scot Armstrong, Craig Mazin and Todd Phillips seamlessly applies the Hangover structure to a new setting. The beauty of it is it could happen anywhere, or with anyone (i.e. franchise.)
This hangover is even more desperate. Stealing Tyson’s tiger is irresponsible, but it’s easy enough to stay out of a wildcat’s path. Thailand is epically seedy and their exploits there have permanent ramifications. They have not given away the most shocking moments in the trailer. You’ve seen one-off gags like hitting the pig with the car, but the actual immoral ones are a surprise. The tattoo artist cameo definitely didn’t need to be a celebrity stunt casting. It works great with just a tough character actor.
If you want a completely different structure then you’ll be disappointed, but then also it wouldn’t be The Hangover, it would just be some other movie. So it’s a tattoo instead of a tooth and a monkey instead of a baby. Stu’s new song isn’t quite as funny as “Halle Berry in her Catwoman suit” and the photo montage at the end isn’t as shocking, but I’m glad they tried them again. The beauty of sequels is they can try different takes on familiar favorites, and build on what they’ve done before. It becomes tradition and there are plenty of new bits destined to be classics. Alan’s meditation flashback is so right for depicting how Alan sees the world.
Look, it’s not entirely unpredictable but it’s funny. The explanation for their second blackout is a bit disappointing but so far, The Hangover Part II is the only summer movie that lives up to the hype. I want to see another one, but the next blackout shouldn’t happen at a wedding. Maybe Doug’s son’s bar mitzvah, and not just finding another missing person. They should cause an international incident, maybe murder someone. It can turn out in the end that he was a terrorist and they actually saved the day, but take it to the next level. Keep doing it though.