In the follow-up to the record-breaking hit comedy “The Hangover,” Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don’t always go as planned. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can’t even be imagined.
Back in 2009, The Hangover was a surprise hit. It took the world by storm and did what was thought to be nigh on impossible, create a funny and profitable ‘R’ rated comedy. Granted, the humour was not to everyone’s taste and audiences were more likely to laugh out in surprise at what they are seeing than having a cleverly crafted set up make you laugh, but it was a good solid comedy that a lot of people loved.
Flash forward two years later and we see the now established characters of ‘The Wolfpack’ – Alan, Stu, Phil and Doug, getting together to celebrate Stu’s upcoming nuptials by travelling to Thailand and having a nice, quiet and sedate time. This obviously doesn’t happen. After having ‘one’ beer on the beach, Stu, Phil and Alan wake up in a dingy, mouldy and cockroach infested hovel somewhere in Bangkok.
From here, everything that happened in the first film happens again, this time the local is more exotic and the level of depravity is more extreme.
Todd Phillips has taken the established formula, changed the city and upped the ante on the gross out humour. With the first film you had a sense of freshness to it. This kind of film often is poorly conceived and executed and with this sequel, rather than throw caution to the wind, Phillips and co-writers Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong have copied the formula so tightly that it seems at time to be forced and lazy.
The leads are the reason why these films work. Zach Galifianakis steals the film away from the rest of the cast and makes it feel like the film hinges on his wacky antics with the other guys being merely window dressing. Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper are great fodder for the antics that they get up to with Cooper being the straight guy and Helms being the guy with his temper just about to boil over at any moment.
The film is funny. There is no doubt about that at all, but it’s the kind of funny that might make you question how far is too far when you sit and analyse what you have seen. If you want a film that shocks you into laughter and makes you shake your head in disbelief then this is the film for you.
There is a simple formula to these films and if they do decide to make a Part III then I think they might have to rethink the reasoning for these bachelor party antics. Despite it’s familiarity, The Hangover Part II is a very funny film and if you loved the first film, you’ll love this one too.
I give this film 3 out of 5
The Hangover Part II is rated MA15+ and opens in cinemas on Thursday