By Don Simpson | May 25, 2011
Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong
Starring: Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Justin Bartha, Paul Giamatti, Jamie Chung, Mason Lee
The Hangover is the highest-grossing R-rated comedy to date, and for good reason — it is a cleverly conceived, somewhat novel story with a lot of unexpected twists. In some ways it makes perfect sense that The Hangover Part II would be almost identical to The Hangover in terms of narrative structure and pacing. Heck, even some of the same gags are recycled; and the gags that are not exactly the same are similar enough: instead of finding a baby in their hotel room, the guys find a chain-smoking monkey; instead of waking up with a missing tooth, Stu (Ed Helms) wakes up with a Mike Tyson-esque facial tattoo; instead of bursting into song at a piano to sum up their horrible situation, Stu bursts into song with an acoustic guitar; and instead of having sex with a hooker, Stu has sex with…well…a more endowed hooker.
In other words, it is absolutely pointless to synopsize Part II. Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, and Justin Bartha reprise their roles — with a few additional minor characters added to the mix, including Paul Giamatti, Jamie Chung, and Mason Lee. If you have seen The Hangover you will be able to predict exactly what happens (and when it happens) in Part II; and if you have not seen The Hangover, rent it instead of wasting your money on Part II.
Other than the obvious location change — The Hangover takes place in Las Vegas, Part II in Bangkok — the most significant difference between the two films is the Part II’s propensity for pushing the envelope way too far. Where The Hangover is ridiculous and unrealistic, Part II is incomprehensibly exaggerated and hyper-unrealistic. As it turns out, Part II has inexplicably succumbed to becoming a lowest common denominator gross-out fest, relying much too heavily upon stupid penis jokes and demeaning Thai stereotypes. Let’s just say that Part II is for all of you who think a monkey licking and chewing on penises is funny (in any language).