Thrilled to learn Todd Phillips & company were making The Hangover Part II, I looked forward to the continued in-depth character study, further reflection on the human condition, examining the true nature of relationships & parallels in the animal kingdom, specifically the similarities between groups of men & wolf packs, and what it means to be a man in the modern age . . . wait a minute . . . that’s not right. I’m sorry, what I meant to say is that I was looking forward to another raunchy comedy following the characters I know & love, rife with dick & fart jokes. And guess what, that’s exactly what I got with The Hangover Part II.
Since I didn’t get the memo that The Hangover was anything more than a hilariously raunchy romp through Sin City, so all I expected from the sequel was more of the same, just in a new locale. The Hangover Part II doesn’t reinvent the wheel. It’s nothing new or different. It doesn’t offer any insight about the human condition. The wolf pack is back. This time Stu is getting married. Instead of Las Vegas, they wind up in Bangkok. And instead of losing the groom they lose the bride’s younger brother. Madcap shenanigans ensue. It’s just funny. And that’s all it’s supposed to be.
The big complaint with critics seems to be that the element of surprise from the original is missing. Personally, I don’t think that’s a valid argument, since the original is only surprising once, and I still think it’s hilarious. The Hangover Part II is just as funny. I am perfectly content with the simple transposing of the formula from the first film into a new location for the second. Call it lazy or unimaginative or uninspired or unoriginal, it’s still funny.
Sorry, I feel like I’m critiquing critiques more than I am the film. I get what they’re saying, I just disagree. The phrase “original sequel” seems a bit oxymoronic. No, it doesn’t really expand on anything from the first film. No, we don’t really learn anything about ourselves. Yes, the sequel hits all the same beats as the original. And if you’re like me, that’s exactly what you’re hoping for in The Hangover Part II. It’s a screwball comedy for Christ’s sake. It isn’t The Dark Knight; it isn’t supposed to be, and it’s not like it’s Caddyshack II either. Basically, The Hangover Part II is to The Hangover as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is to National Lampoon’s Vacation; it’s the same people getting into very similar ridiculous situations. If you liked The Hangover, even after repeat viewings, and you’re interested in more of the same, then you’ll probably like The Hangover Part II. I’m not going to say more than that; I’d hate to ruin the “surprise.”
(And in case you’re wondering, that’s the same grade I give the original movie.)