out of Five
Running time: 102
Painfully unfunny sequel that desperately tries to recapture the magic formula of the original film with increasingly tedious results.
What's it all about?
Directed by Todd Phillips (returning for the sequel), The Hangover – Part II begins with sensible dentist Stu (Ed Helms) about to get married to fiancee Lauren (Jamie Chung) in Thailand. Eschewing the traditional stag party after what happened in Vegas in the previous movie, Stu persuades his friends – smooth-talking Phil (Bradley Cooper), happily married Doug (Justin Bartha) and Doug's weirdo brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis) as well as Stu's own future brother-in-law, 16-year-old Teddy (Mason Lee) – to join him on the beach for a quiet drink or two.
However, wouldn't you know it, something goes wrong and Phil, Stu and Alan wake up in a Bangkok hotel room (Doug is safely back at the wedding resort) to find that Teddy is missing (and missing a finger), Stu has a Mike Tyson-style tattoo on his face, angry gangster from the first film Mister Chow (Ken Jeong) has mysteriously joined them and they have somehow acquired a chain smoking monkey. As before, they have to piece together the events of the previous night if they're going to have any hope of finding Teddy, the only problem being that none of them can remember anything that happened.
The first film surprised everyone by becoming an enormous sleeper hit and the sequel is so desperate to recreate the magic formula of the 2009 hit that it's actually painful to watch – if anything, it's weirdly reminiscent of that scene in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray's character scrambles to recreate the perfect date of the night before but continually fails because everything he does is forced.
The main problem is that what was funny in the first film just doesn't work the second time around, particularly as it fails to capitalise on how similar everything is to their Vegas weekend. By the same token, The Hangover Part II just lazily substitutes all the plot elements from the first film (a monkey instead of a tiger/baby, a tattoo instead of a missing tooth, a ladyboy instead of a prostitute, etc) and hopes for the best.
Tellingly, the writers of the original film are the one element that's missing this time round and it really shows. The actors are all on form but somehow the chemistry and energy are missing – it's also shorter than the original film by eight minutes and yet it feels twice as long. Good monkey though.
This is a lazily written, frequently dull and painfully laugh-free sequel that fails to capture the magic of the first film.
The Hangover Part II (R16)