It’s hard to review The Hangover Part ‘Two‘ (2011) (and yes, that is a deliberate reference to the second Godfather) without sounding like a joyless curmudgeon. It is, after all, nothing more than a a free-spirited, knockabout comedy, a farcical adventure, a wild ride that asks nothing more than you sit back and go with the flow. Well, that’s the theory.
In practice, however, the film, by Todd Phillips (The Hangover (2009), Starsky & Hutch (2004)) seemingly exists only for the purpose of foisting a series of frenetic, barely coherent set-pieces and tediously unfunny jokes on an unsuspecting public. Actually, that last bit’s not entirely true; as less a sequel than a remake of the first film, the public must have at least a tiny suspicion of what’s in store.
For what it’s worth, the plot finds Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and, with reluctance on the part of Stu, Alan (Zack Galifianakis) in Thailand for the wedding of the former. Unfortunately a quick nightcap turns into (naturally) something of a serious, mind bending session, and the boys wake up the next morning in a crumpled heap, with no recollection of the night before, and in various states of disrepair. Worse still, the groom’s would-be brother in law, and family favourite, Teddy, has gone missing, and a severed finger found, which sends the gang into a wild, panicky search across an unfamiliar city. Added to this mission of recovery is a sub plot about international criminals and a smoking monkey, before it all revolves itself around a healthy dose of manly sentimentality.
Essentially, the plot serves as a rather weak platform for noisy, frenetic set pieces and dubious, xenophobic gags (Stu’s encounter with a male prostitute is a particular low point in a movie that rarely lifts itself above sea level). Sadly, there really is nothing good to say about this film. The acting is broad and charmless, the jokes lurch from tedious to offensive, while the frenetic pace serves only to annoy, reducing what could have been a fun, freewheeling farce into a noisy, shambolic mess of shouting and wild gesticulation. Oh, and smoking monkeys are never funny.
Apparently, there may be a Hangover 3 on the way, which, on the evidence displayed here, could put it into an ignominious competition with that other sequel routinely considered to be among the worst films ever made. That is, of course, The Godfather Part III (1990). Let the contest begin…