By Jennice Fuentes
In a world that does not seem to tire of Harry Potter-Twilight-Scream-FastFive et al franchises, there is always hope for another multimillion dollar magic potion. In the case of The Hangover II , the $467 million dollar question is: will the magic work again? I guess that Director Todd Phillips is about to find out if familiarity does indeed breed endearment…or contempt.
In spite of The Hangover II’s total lack of refreshing originality, the hapless trio is back in full form, and this is a good thing. This time around, the baby has been replaced by a monkey (Crystal, that hard working capuchin monkey Hollywood veteran), Las Vegas has been replaced by Bangkok, the tiger has been replaced by a budhist monk and instead of loosing a groom, our wolf-pack looses the brother of the bride (and his finger). Everything else is pretty much the same (including Mike Tyson), just a lot darker and less fun (note: you will still laugh, but this time it will be on cue…)
Normally the amount of detail I’m going to give you would require a “spoiler alert” but in truth, if you saw the first one, you’ve already seen this one. Same old same old: another wedding will prompt our trio to celebrate the last night of bachelorhood in unexpected ways. Dentist Stu (Ed Helms) plans to marry his soulmate, Lauren (Jamie Chung) in her ancestral homeland, Thailand, which is a very convenient distance from the original sin city, Bangkok. After what seemed like a pretty lame and inocuous toast at the beach (and wonderful bachelor brunch at IHOP), we come to find our trio waking up at a flea bag hotel in Bangkok with a huge hangover. Our trio looks different than the night before: Alan (Zach Galifianakis) now has a shaved head, Stu is sporting a fancy and bold face tattoo and Phil (Bradley Cooper) has a pet monkey hanging around his neck. Also in the room, their good old friend and international criminal, Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), who is much less well-endowed that you could ever imagine.
In a desperate attempt to find the brother in time for the wedding, our hapless trio must reconstruct the previous night…as you already know, they cannot remember a thing…but over a period of time that seems to last a week, they will have their requisite number of car chases, close encounters with bullets, mobsters and attacking monks, an even closer encounter with a transgender beauty, a hospital visit, lose a hat, lose a very personable and dapper monkey (with a terrible tobacco addiction), recover same monkey, leave a now injured monkey again, meet Kingsley (Paul Giamatti) who appears to be a mobster, survive meeting Kingsley, meet monks, survive meeting monks, and loose all hope right before having a life saving revelation.
While the first installment of this would be franchise had the surprise element as its insurance policy, this sweaty and dirty derivate only has the original cast and their magical chemistry to pull this one off. While nothing is really new here, there are some funny bitsy glimmers of light (mostly courtesy of Alan, Zach Galifianakis’ charater.) which seem suffocated by a pervasive darkness. Even with all leads back in true form, this movie has lost its original mojo. As much as its said, over and over again throughout the movie, it is true…What happened to The Hangover II? Bangkok has it…
MPAA rating: R (for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images)
Directed by Todd Phillips; written by Phillips, Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong. A Warner Bros. Pictures release. Running time: 1:38.