"Hangover Part II": Two times the insanity

May 30, 2011, 9:34 a.m. | By Eli Schwadron | 13 years ago

Hilarity ensues as the Hangover boys are back to take on Bangkok

The wolf pack is back. Fans of the 2009 hit comedy "The Hangover" raced to movie theaters on Thursday to see director Todd Phillips' highly anticipated sequel, which doesn't fail to produce an hour and forty minutes of pure comedic genius. Because the movie's plotline is nearly identical to the original, "The Hangover Part II" won't blow audience's minds. However, any movie starring both Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong is sure to keep audiences LOL-ing non-stop. Throw in a cigarette-smoking monkey, some raunchy slap-stick humor and another classic song from Stu (Ed Helms), and you've got the ingredients for a must-see comedy.

Apart from a different setting and fresh jokes, the storyline for "The Hangover Part II" is essentially copy and pasted from its 2009 counterpart. Instead of taking place in Vegas, the movie is set in Thailand, where Stu is getting married. Scarred from the events that occurred in Vegas, Stu decides not to have a bachelor party but agrees to have just "one drink" with his best friends on the beach. The film then fast forwards to the next morning, when Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Galifianakis) and Stu, comprising the wolf pack, wake up in a dirty hotel room in Bangkok. They have no clue how they got there and soon realize that Stu's 16-year-old brother-in-law-to-be, Teddy (Mason Lee), is missing. The rest of the film follows the wolf pack as they try to track Teddy down despite their erased memories. Facing obstacles like violent Buddhist monks, gun-wielding Russian mobsters and deceiving Interpol agents, the "Hangover" crew does everything to find Teddy and get to Stu's wedding in time – and in doing so, the pack leaves the audience in a constant state of laughter.

Much like in the first movie, Galifianakis steals the show as Alan in "The Hangover Part II." The self-proclaimed "stay-at-home son" keeps viewers rollicking each and every time he opens his mouth to speak. Upon entering a Buddhist monastery, Alan asks his companions, in all seriousness, "What is this, a P.F. Chang's?" Later on, while searching for Teddy, Phil gets shot and gangsters threaten to kill the whole gang. Meanwhile, Alan is only concerned over the loss of two mundane things. "First my monkey, now my hat. Could this day get any worse?" It's this type of humor – a certain humor that only Galifianakis could pull off – that makes "The Hangover Part II" a terrific film.

Several other actors offer great performances as well, such as Helms, known best for his role as Andy on "The Office," who is stellar as always. Stu's character is pivotal as he transforms from a cowardly dentist to a daredevil with a "dark side" in order to win over his future father-in-law's marriage blessing. Jeong, reprising his role as the crazy international criminal Leslie Chow, stands out as well. Although some may deem his performance as offensive due to its inappropriate nature, most people will agree that Jeong is simply a man who knows how to make people laugh. Throwing so many talented comedians into the same movie doesn't always work – but in this case it does, and the clear chemistry that exists between the characters works to the movie's advantage.

Apart from solid acting, "The Hangover Part II" also provides many other elements necessary for a successful film. Music director Christophe Beck does an astounding job with the movie's soundtrack, splicing current songs into the film in a way that makes everything flow. Keeping with the Kanye West theme from the original "Hangover," Beck uses high-energy tracks such as "Stronger" and "All of the Lights" by the popular hip-hop artist to set the mood. Cinematographer Lawrence Sher adds a certain flavor to the movie with fast-paced sequences and dream-like visuals when characters experience flashbacks to their lost night.

One aspect of the film that's a bit puzzling is the fact that the audience never learns what happens during the two years between the bachelor party in Las Vegas and current day – Stu's wedding. How did Stu become engaged to a beautiful Thai woman? What happened to the stripper he married in Vegas? How did Alan and Chow become best friends? The movie's comedic value makes up for certain plot holes, but it would still be nice for the filmmakers to fill in the gaps.

Many critics of "The Hangover Part II" have only one argument: that the film's storyline is identical to the first, and that it doesn't offer anything new or exciting. However, what these critics don't understand is that the plot isn't the driving force of the film; nor was it the plot that made the original an instant classic, either. The fact that Part II has such a similar storyline certainly takes away from its appeal, but the hilarious jokes remain at a premium – and it's the constant, inappropriate antics that make the sequel entertaining and get people to the box office.

The cast of "The Hangover" and "The Hangover Part II" has such a good chemistry that it's easy to assume a "Hangover Part III" is in the works. After two stomach-busting flicks, fans are infatuated with the ridiculousness that ensues whenever Bradley Cooper or Ed Helms wakes up – whether it's in a torn-up Vegas casino suite or in a random, disheveled Bangkok hotel room. The plot may be the same, but it's the characters and their crazy antics that fans have grown to know and love, and that keep them coming back for more.

Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images.

Tags: Movie Review The Hangover The Hangover Part II

Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »

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