Review: ‘Hangover 2’ Still Holds Its Comedy Grip!
I’ll never forget June, 2009. The reason for it is because as I prepped for a trip to Anaheim for work at a conference that would last for about three weeks, the process was so mind-boggling and emotionally draining, I needed something to pick me up. What that was remained a mystery, but what I do recall is right around that same time, Todd Phillips (Old School, Due Date) had a small independent R-rated comedy titled The Hangover opening two days before I’d leave NYC. I recall the trailer, I recall the posters, and recall the buzz working up among my film-buff friends as they talked about it. I wasn’t expecting much and after a night of packing, finishing up PowerPoint presentations, and adding some finishing touches to a budget I had worked on, I felt my mind needed a lift, and knowing The Hangover was out, I took a dive and caught it the following day. Ladies and gentlemen, I walked out with such a sore stomach from all the outrageous unexpected comedy; I immediately started texting my brothers, friends and co-workers about it. It was engraved in my brain and found the brilliance of the film generally stemming from its mystery of who-done-it playing parallel to a puzzle of comedy I had never seen before. It was by far one of the best comedy film-based experiences of my life.
So much about this film motivated me to research it, I had read that without having it been a hit just yet, Todd had a sequel in mind—pretty ballsy considering how tough moviegoers can be! The level of his confidence shot so high, I remember it was Thanksgiving and the movie was STILL in theaters making money and generating the same buzz it did from the start in the summer. Strange how this was a hit or miss film, and really glad the audience embraced hard-core comedy which came in all sorts of forms and edginess. It proved my theory about most people really WANTING that taboo-ish kind of approach and appeal when watching an adult-based humorous film.
It doesn’t mean the film didn’t have its haters, because in the end, The Hangover is an acquired taste, but even with all the negativity from a large portion of those who looked down it—I know a few—it reigned supreme and turned out to be the highest grossing R-rated comedy ever!
The sequel The Hangover Part II is set to open Memorial Day weekend, and I think it fits perfectly considering most will be leaving work early on Friday, and have some free time which will extend all through Monday. The film’s heavy-hitting fans will most definitely turn out in large crowds, but lucky me, I got to beat that crowd and presented with an advance press screening which took place early this week (Monday, May 23, 2011), and the style, flavor and pizzazz is still THERE!
The follow-up to director Todd Phillips’s surprise 2009 hit, The Hangover 2 takes the cookie cutter-like sequel approach of identifying all the structural points of the original and repackaging them with slightly different wrapping. What are those elements? Simple: A hotel room in a holiday destination with a weird animal in it, a wedding to go to, a missing person to find, permanent body damage, an Asian gangster, and a mercifully brief cameo by Mike Tyson!
Keeping it spoiler free, this time the cat taking the marriage plunge is Stu (Ed Helms), who reunites with the original gang Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) plus his future brother in law Teddy (Mason Lee) and travels to Thailand to walk the aisle. Acknowledging the screw-ups of the Vegas fiasco last time around, Stu is adamant that his Bucks party will consist of nothing more than lunch at a diner with an orange juice. But, one burst of concentrated social pressure later, he agrees to have a single beer on the beach—“see you in 20 minutes,” he tells his wife-to-be—and the rest is history, folks. Now, if only he (or they) could remember it.
The guys wake up in Bangkok, their crappy hotel room adorned with the added bonuses of a severed finger and an angry well-dressed monkey. Within minutes one of their entourage is dead, so, time and criminal charges seem to be brewing, therefore, decide to leave. But Teddy is missing and they need to find him—or recover his body—before rocking up to the wedding.
There are crazy chase scenes, awkward encounters and a mixture of sight, dialogue and situation gags as the awkwardly lost duo scramble to make sense of, well, anything.
There is also an unmistakable overarching feeling that The Hangover 2 is going through the rounds. In his attempts to recreate the success of the first movie, a dopey, funny, throwaway popcorn flick, Todd Phillips pulls it off, and although it’s the SAME movie, what ups the antics here is the fact that they’re in another country!
The highlight of this movie is always Zach. Not taking anything away from the rest of the cast, but for some reason, these nutty roles couldn’t have been presented to a better person than Zack.
Personally, I feel this film is as great—dare I say better than the first—flawless comedic brilliance with endless edginess.
GRADE: A / GENRE: Comedy / ROARS: 5 out of 5
RATED: R / RUN TIME: 1 hr. 50 Min.
STARRING: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Jamie Chung, Sasha Barrese, Jeffrey Tambor
DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips
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