If we had to list down sequels that were the epitome of what a sequel should not be, Todd Phillips‘ The Hangover Part II and III would be among the topmost examples. This problem more specifically persists in comedy film sequels, where a perfectly enjoyable formula is depended on a little too much, and oftentimes to the extent that the sequel itself loses its identity.
The Hangover Part II is barely any different from the first film in terms of storytelling and the core ideas, in fact besides the fact that it’s set in Thailand, it’s almost the same movie. And on top of that, the execution of everything is quite worse in comparison to its predecessor. Understandably, a franchise may maintain some aspects that are static to it in every film but not to the extent that the cinematic authenticity gets compromised.
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The Movie Review
It is set two years after the events of the first film, with Stu Price traveling to Thailand alongside his friends Doug, Phil, and Alan, for marrying his fiancée Lauren. Then happens a rehearsal where Lauren’s younger brother Teddy and her father make things a little bothering for Stu, with her father being downright critical of him.
The friends, alongside Teddy, set a campfire and consume marshmallows and beer to end the night’s celebrations. And then recur the events of the first film, because the film chooses not to improve upon something that isn’t broken, but that’s not how an artistic medium like filmmaking should work, as authenticity is what defines a film. The very premise of The Hangover Part II is worthy of criticism.
This time around, they wake up in a Bangkok hotel room, with Stu having a tattoo similar to Mike Tyson’s on his head, whereas Alan’s head is shaved altogether. They find a capuchin monkey with quite a personality and suddenly stumble upon Leslie Chow, their old gangster friend.
Chow tries to recall events from the past, but he overdoses on cocaine and collapses, and is assumed dead by everyone. Then begins the concern of where to hide his supposed corpse. And from there on out, begins to happen a recurrence of almost everything that happened in the first film, but this time it barely succeeds at even the comedy.
The jokes that do land are all extremely similar to all the jokes that we already heard in the superior first film, and all the other attempts at comedy barely try to stand out. The characters were very interesting in the first film because all of them had circumstances and traits that stood out, but here, everything is the same, with the circumstances swapped between the characters.
It’s a classic cash-grab sequel strategy Perhaps the change of writers makes the comedic mediocrity of The Hangover Part II understandable.
This disappointing sequel of an enjoyable comedy was penned by Todd Phillips himself, alongside Scot Armstrong, and Craig Mazin. In The Hangover Part II, the comedic magic of the first film’s writing duo is missing, even though attempts are made to replicate it.
Todd Phillips’ direction in this can be seen by his vision alone, aiming for barely any authenticity and replicating the first film as much as possible, with the differences only being external. Lawrence Sher’s cinematography barely stands out in comparison to his own work in the first film, and Christophe Beck’s original score just about works too.
The Bottom Line
The Hangover Part II is something that has problems in the premise alone. It’s not a badly made film, just that it fails to find itself by attempting to replicate the first film a little too much. It doesn’t attempt to do what a film should do in the first place, and it doesn’t quite shine in the way it executes its attempts either.