As soon as the trailer was leaked onto YouTube, lads all over the land giggled in glee and danced in excitement. The hugely successful, and for all the cinematic snobs out there, surprisingly entertaining Hangover original incorporated cult humour with bizarre, surreal and strangely relatable scenarios that made the audience feel like they were part of some giant in-joke. Suspense and anticipation was high for the Hangover 2 which exploded into cinemas at the beginning of the summer, confidently sure in its ability to duplicate the stag-do magic.
In this second instalment we see the Wolfpack travel to Thailand for the nerdy and overly-cautious Stu’s wedding to his new fiancé Lauren (all traces of stripper ex-wife Jade vanishing into thin air, along with his missing tooth). It was nice to see all of the original actors on screen together; the bromance chemistry between Cooper and Helms is still going strong, and Galifianakis plays the slightly insane Alan just as dead-pan as before. I also liked the translation of the scenario to Thailand; a repetition of Las Vegas would have been stale, as well as stretching the stereotype too far.
However the plot devices were identical to the original film, which made it not only predictable, but less hilarious. As soon as the marshmallows are attributed to Alan, it’s obvious what’s going to happen – and frankly I’m dubious that anyone would ever consume anything provided by Alan, sealed or otherwise. Similarly the rather forced exclusion of Doug from the group (“I left early, remember guys?”) seemed a shame – there was the potential to add a familiar but underdeveloped character to the mix, introducing a new humour to the film, which seemed squandered in the efforts to retain the original poster shot. The eventual (and seemingly unprompted) discovery that Teddy was abandoned in an obscure location within the hotel was not only another direct repetition from the first film, but a rather obvious one that didn’t hold the same mystique or sense of comical revelation.
Having said that there were some improvements upon the original film; the wedding scene at the end was much stronger with a slap-stick entrance and reappearance by Mike Tyson, and the wives were given a (tiny) bit more character with Lauren’s jokes keeping up with Alan’s. The meandering tours from police station, to monastery, to strip club to tattoo parlour were just as funny as the original, and Stu’s rising frustration peaks in a hilarious melt-down, bordering on mental collapse. There were some brilliant references to the original film for the die-hard fans, and the one-liners were just as entertaining, if not as sharp, as the originals. For me, a film worth watching, but not worth buying.
Posted on XMedia-Online website, June 2011.