It’s a bizarre situation to be in with a movie like this one. The first Hangover movie was a fun little adventure across Las Vegas for three friends who have to figure out where they left their friend during a bachelor party gone haywire with the inclusion of illicit substances and a stolen tiger. Well received and award winning, a sequel was all but inevitable. And inevitably it came, in “The Hangover: Part 2” also known as “The Hangover: The First One Again Only Worse”. Making a sequel just to cash in on the recent success or name recognition of a movie doesn’t warrant a truly damning opinion of a producer, but there’s a special place in hell for people who think that humor is derived from pointing and laughing at people and situations akin to tossing your popcorn at a carnival side show. It’s high school bullying on top of a mediocre film which does nothing but tarnish its predecessor. I’ve honestly run out of energy for these movies at this point. They’ve come and gone, and it’s tragic that after the success of the first one all that’s left is relief for their passing.
The wolf pack, namely Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Doug (Justin Bartha), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) are all settled again after two failed bachelor parties, only to be roused back into action by Marshall (John Goodman) a crime boss, who needs them to find Chow (Ken Jeong), the naked Asian guy from the trunk in the first movie. And just to be safe, he kidnaps Doug, keeping the number of people doing things consistent with the last two films. Not having any choice Phil, Stu, and Alan head out to nab the cocaine fueled criminal. Along the way people get shot, homes are invaded, friends are betrayed, and families are strained at the seams. Occasionally a joke is made. It isn’t funny.
If the second movie was on the level of a high school bully, this one is on par with the kid who shoots up heroin behind the dumpsters and always gets a call from the police whenever someone’s cat goes missing. It’s mind boggling that anyone involved in the making of this thought that animal cruelty would be funny and entertaining to anyone. On no less than three occasions animals are killed brutally for the sake of what someone who desperately needs their meds might call humor. There are odd references to classic movies that don’t go any further than the idea that what’s happening is similar circumstances. I can’t lecture on what makes a joke compelling beyond taste and timing but the one element I know to be completely necessary is irony. The writers of this movie seemed to fumble around with this for a little while but then decided it was too hard and dove headfirst into the recycling bin from the last two movies and a seemingly endless supply of intended gross out gags. It’s honestly surprising that Rob Riggle never showed up to re-taze Alan after all the retreads of the original movie this one made.
What’s left at the end of all this? When all is said and done it feels like it’s just as useless to get angry about it as it is to complain. The first one is still there, pristine as it ever was, even with the added albatross of two useless tag-alongs (Even though a pretentious analogy doesn’t do justice to the shallow debauchery these movies turned into, or at least got worse at retracing). There’s nothing to this one except disappointment for carrying along the same characters that used to be so much fun. The first movie was original and fun. The sequel was a mean spirited farce of the original. This one is just cruel and empty.
But since everyone’s sense of humor is different you can decide all that for yourself. For starters here is the trailer. And catch it on HBO, HBO2 and on HBOGO into April.