The Hangover: Part II

Posing the question: how many times can you make the same movie and still turn a profit? The answer: at least two.

Most of us have experienced a hangover. They aren’t the best. You lay in bed, wondering why you did this to yourself and piecing together the previous night, trying to muster the energy to go get a greasy breakfast and a Gatorade.

There are no monkeys. You’re not in Thailand. A bald Zach Galifianakis isn’t irritating you with his surprising cheer.

It’s basically nothing like The Hangover: Part II, is what I’m saying here.

Heading into this film I felt mixed emotions. I’ll forever be a fan of director Todd Phillips because he gave us Old School, which is probably my favourite comedy of all-time, and I await the day he reaches that comedic height again. But I didn’t love the first Hangover the way most did. I found it to be quite overrated in fact, and if most bros out there didn’t dream of waking up hungover in Vegas wondering how they lost one of their friends, it probably would have never taken off the way it did.

It didn’t take long before those mixed emotions turned mostly towards the negative side of things.

The Hangover: Part II is literally the same movie as its predecessor. I mean the exact same movie. Sure, they took it and moved it from Vegas to Bangkok, but other than that it’s the same thing.

If most bros out there didn’t dream of waking up hungover in Vegas…it probably would have never taken off the way it did.

Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Galifianakis) start drinking with an additional pal along for the ride – this time it’s Stu’s soon-to-be brother-in-law Teddy (Mason Lee). Flash forward to the lads waking up in a room with their friend missing the next day, and the hijinks ensue.

I’m not going to get into details, but if you saw the first Hangover, I cannot stress enough that it is exactly the same. The whole film sets up like the first, and it resolves itself the same way as well. It’s just not as funny.

It has a few moments that are worth a chuckle, but sitting here trying to offer up a quotable or memorable line, I’m drawing a blank. I know I laughed a few times – not hard, but definitely audible – but I couldn’t tell you the cause. That’s probably not a good sign.

The biggest issue that I’ve had with both of these films is that none of the main characters are likeable human beings. In both, Doug (Justin Bartha) was the most likeable out of The Wolfpack, and he’s on-screen for a net total of probably 20 minutes between the two movies. What viewers are left with is a pompous jerk in Phil, a whiny mope in Stu, and a character who tries too hard to be funny in Alan. It’s bordering on unbearable by the time the second film concludes.

And by “bordering on” I mean “totally.”

The one major highlight for me came at the end with a cameo that was probably pretty obvious but that I still didn’t see coming — and it was excellent. It involved one of my favourite athletes ever and a rendition of “One Night in Bangkok,” and helped to rinse some of the foul taste of the prior ninety minutes from my mouth.

Phillips’ soundtrack favourite, Kanye West, queries on his most recent album: “the plan was to drink until the pain over/but what’s worse, the pain or the hangover?”

In this case, the pain and The Hangover are one and the same.

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