Thursday, 26 May 2011

Running With The Wolf Pack Again

The Hangover Part II (Phillips, 2011)

I want to state this at the beginning so there is no misunderstanding, 'The Hangover Part II' is a good film, it's funny, entertaining and well worth a watch. Sadly though where the first film was the equivalent of the perfect night out with close friends, this is, arguably fittingly for a sequel, like a reunion with old friends; there are a lot of great moments as you rediscover old friendships, but there's also the friends who've become weird or come out with racist comments and by the end of the night you're left with a frustrated certainty that they all used to be a lot more fun.

'Part II' takes place in Thailand as dentist Stu (Ed Helms) prepares to get married and the first 20 minutes set up Stu being desperate to avoid a repeat of Vegas and a pretty standard family dynamic; loving wife to be, disapproving father-in-law and golden boy brother-in-law (admittedly a more likeable one than most). Inevitably Stu agrees to one drink and then the first part's formula kicks in with the boy's awakening in a strange hotel room with no memory of the night before but a few of the consequences.

The film's problems stem from the fact that it sticks bizarrely closely to the first one's formula throughout and the same set up is very rarely as funny twice over. There's an animal (a smoking monkey instead of a tiger), an incident of facial disfigurement, a missing friend (Doug this time is not the one, but he isn't with the boys either, merely popping up occasionally as a go between) and even pint sized gangster Chou is back.

A film with the same characters but a different premise could have been great, however by instead just transferring the plot to Thailand and playing up all the stereotypes of Bangkok (chaos, poverty, heat, ladyboys and prostitutes) Phillips shows a surprising lack of appreciation for the law of diminishing returns within comedy.

There are a couple of cameo's but one is almost criminally under used on a storyline that never becomes funny and the other just seems uninspired which compared to the cameos of Tyson and Graham in 'Part I' is a real disappointment.

There are still a lot of scenes that capture the first instalment's anarchic sense of humour and make great use of the concept but they're let down by others where the film seems so desperate to act out and live up to Bangkok's crazy reputation that they forget to check whether they're being funny or just extreme.

Like i said at the start i recommend you see the film for yourselves and make your own minds up (i guess that goes for any of my reviews) but precisely because i went into the film with high hopes this second instalment was a bit of a disappointment. Like a few nights out i can remember.


Today's song is one i only discovered today whilst on a new music kick but i'm definitely liking it, and the album it is off.

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