VOD film review: The Hangover Part II
Ivan Radford | On 14, Jul 2014Reading time: 3 mins
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper
Watch The Hangover Part II online in the UK: Netflix UK / Amazon Prime / TalkTalk TV / iTunes / Amazon Instant Video
Several years ago, the world blacked out and woke up in a popcorn-covered cinema. They couldn’t remember what they saw, but they knew that it was veryfunny. That and something about Holocaust rings. And so, The Hangover crew returns for one more night of debauched misadventures. “I can’t believe it’s happening again…” moan the cast as they awake bleary-eyed in Bangkok. They’re not the only ones.
The sequel was, of course, inevitable, as is the dubious title. Is it part of the same hangover as last time? No, but it’s mostly identical. From a monkey and missing person to a token prostitute, The Hangover Part II is a remake of the first film – without the jokes.
But that doesn’t matter because we’re in Bangkok, the land of rape and ladyboys – often both at the same time. (No one seems to have told Todd Phillips that ladyboys were only funny when discussed by Alan Partridge back in 1997.)
After 15 minutes spent reminiscing about the last Hangover, dentist Stu (Helms) goes to Thailand to get married. Naturally, he invites Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis (let’s not pretend they have characters) and their other best friend from the first film, who doesn’t even have a function, let alone a name. The night before the nuptials, the group go down to the beach for one drink. You know what happens from there.
And that’s the main problem. Nothing is unexpected, because it’s all so close to The Hangover’s original script – and surprise was that film’s secret weapon. Todd Phillips tries to make things bigger and ruder, but only makes them more offensive. One piece of wordplay on the city’s name makes Hall Pass look like an Oscar Wilde satire, while the drunken antics simply aren’t funny anymore. Zach got his hair shaved off? Oh no. Stu got a tattoo? How wacky.
Then, Ken Jeong’s loud, camp sidekick from the first film turns up, even louder, camper and more annoying. Squealing meaningless phrases like “Holler! It’s the city of squalor!” he squeezes in the odd insult (“Use your big Jewish brain!”) before introducing Paul Giamatti’s unnecessary cameo. It’s hard to believe that Mel Gibson was considered unsuitable for this film.
The worst part is that the humour itself is mean and crude rather than simply politically incorrect, with Bradley Cooper somehow transformed from an arrogant playboy to a sweary sociopath. Ed Helms, meanwhile, spends the 100 minutes constantly screaming. And The Hangover’s other secret weapon, Zach Galifianakis, has barely any outlandish one-liners. There’s one good moment (“I wish monkeys could Skype”), but by the time the animal’s near-dead on a pavement, it’s clearly had a lucky escape.
It’s not often a film gives a monkey more screen time than the protagonist’s wife, but that’s nothing new either. Relegated to cheering her fiancee’s return without doubts or questions, Stu’s bride is as irrelevant as her lost brother, Plot Device. The result is an un-engaging, un-entertaining, unlikeable comedy. It’s hard to hate a film, but The Hangover Part II is so hateful itself that it’s even harder to tolerate it.
The Hangover Part II is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription. It is also available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.