Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review of THE HANGOVER PART II




I know it's one of the most anticipated comedies of the summer, but I just wasn't that big a fan of the first one. I didn't hate it. I even laughed quite a few times. I just thought it was overrated. For me, it took forever to get moving, didn't find much humor in Zach Galifianakis' performance, and I wanted to punch Ken Jeong in the face!

Now, two years later, we're back with this carbon copy sequel. This time Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married to.... ah it really doesn't matter cause the movie doesn't seem to care who she is. The important thing is that he's going to marry someone, cause if he wasn't, there wouldn't be a plot. Anyway, Stu, along with Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Galifianakis), and Doug (Justin Bartha, who is just as unimportant as he was in the first one) travel to Thailand, which is where the wedding is going to be. Stu is pretty vocal about not wanting a bachelor party, so instead the guys (along with Stu's teenage future brother-in-law) end up just having a quiet night on the beach, drinking a few beers by a fire.

All of a sudden... BAM! Phil wakes up hungover and finds everyone in a trashed hotel in Bangkok. Alan's head is now shaved and Stu has a Mike Tyson tattoo on his face. Whoops! Looks like someone drugged them again. And to make matters worse, Stu's future brother-in-law is missing. For the rest of the film, just like the first one, the wolf pack search for him, following every clue and lead they can. This leads the film on it's episodic journey into crude, lewd and rude humor. Also in the mix is Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) returning and causing more trouble for our heroes. We also have a drug dealing monkey, transvestites, and a mob boss played by Paul Giamatti.

I don't have a problem if a movie is going to copy the first film almost exactly, but at least it should still be inspired and funny. This is not! Even more so than recent big budget sequels, THE HANGOVER PART II exists for merely one reason, because the first one made money, not because everyone involved wanted to revisit the characters. There is a lazy, going-through-the-motions feel throughout the whole thing. Sure, there are wild and over the top raunchy jokes, which is fine, but they feel so forced. It's like the filmmakers said, "Okay, we're going to put a big penis in your face. Now laugh!" I need inspiration in a joke as well.

The performances are not very good. Ed Helms probably does the best job, but even he goes overboard at times. Remember when the second Ace Ventura came out and Jim Carrey was trying to recapture his same fresh performance but instead it just showed that he was trying too hard? Same thing here. Everything is just so forced. Not natural at all. Bradley Cooper still reacts to situations humorously, but when he's in a normal conversation, he's just not convincing (it's like MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN all over again). Galifianakis is doing the same thing again, though a little more low key. I just don't find him funny in general. Justin Bartha is completely wasted as the "other friend" again. Since he wasn't missing this time, why couldn't the writers bring him along on the adventure? Ken Jeong is just horrendous as Mr. Chow. He's loud, obnoxious and NOT funny. I think he feels like if an Asian talks really silly and says things black people normally would say, that equals funny. It doesn't. I really hate him! Acclaimed actor Paul Giamatti is really slumming it here as a character who, in the end, really has no significance at all.

The humor is more of the same, just grosser and dirtier, not funnier. The repetition of this movie got old real fast for me. Not since DIE HARD 2:DIE HARDER, did a character say in a movie "I can't believe this is happening again!!!", alot. I did manage to laugh twice. Once during the movie, and twice during the pictures at the end (Yes, they do that again too). The cinematography looks nice, but that's all i can really say about the direction. It's just boring. And what's worse, I didn't really care about anyone this time. In fact, I thought they were all douchebags. At least in the original the three leads had natural chemistry together. Here they don't. It's all forced. Well, at least they all got hefty paydays out of it.

I must mention though, that just because I hated it doesn't mean you won't. I saw this at a pretty packed press screening and everyone seemed to love it. As I was leaving, I heard over a dozen people say that it was better than the first. So, maybe if you were a "die hard" of the original, you might love it. If you didn't really like the first one, like me, it's going to be very painful. I think the first one is like GONE WITH THE WIND compared to this tired old turd.

*1/2 (out of ****)

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