Blu-ray Review: ‘The Hangover Part II’ Offers More of the Same

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CHICAGO – Todd Phillips has huge balls. Never before has a sequel hit SO many of the exact same beats as its predecessor. More of a remake of the film that came before than most slasher franchises, “The Hangover Part II” is the definition of more of the same. You can see Phillips going through the motions — they liked the first one, let’s give it to ‘em again with a bit of Thai flavor and more Ken Jeong. The result is a film that feels remarkably familiar with a few laughs, some decent comedic chemistry, and some daring humor, but a work that just reeks of lazy filmmaking. Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0

Of course, as most people know, the plan worked. Releasing nearly the same movie less than two years later resulted in one of the biggest hits of the year, a film that’s made over half a billion dollars worldwide and is actually the 4th highest grossing movie domestically in 2011. That’s crazy. The movie was massive. But will anyone remember it? Is this evidence of brilliant capitalism or accomplished filmmaking? It is, of course, the first — a stunning model of how to increase your comedy investment by doing it all over again.

Instead of Las Vegas, the Wolfpack heads to Bangkok this time and the change in setting definitely makes for a darker tone from the beginning. Millions of average guys have nights they would like to forget in the city of sin but Thailand conjures images of kidnappings, imprisonment, and severe illegal activities. Phillips and his team embrace the edge, writing a comedy that features a severed finger, a riot, a tattoo, sex with a transvestite, a drug-dealing monkey, and much more R-rated insanity. Much was made of the hard-R approach of the first film and if anything’s different about this one it’s that they turned that up a notch.

The Hangover, Part II
The Hangover, Part II
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

But that’s about where the differences end. It’s almost as if they cloned the original script’s outline and just went in and changed a few details. Once again, the film opens with Phil (Bradley Cooper) announcing that someone’s been lost and then the film flashes back. This time, the missing happens to be the future brother-in-law of Stu (Ed Helms), who is about to get married in Bangkok. Of course, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is along for the ride while Jeong and Paul Giamatti pop up in small roles. The beats are the same from the flash back opening to the found photos that end the movie.

The Hangover, Part II was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 6th, 2011
The Hangover, Part II was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 6th, 2011
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

“The Hangover, Part II” is a strikingly misanthropic film in which comedy is, once again, obtained through the misery of others. It’s such broad material that no one can take it seriously for a second or else they’d realize that these people are going to be permanently scarred for life. The whole thing is a bit too slimy for its own good. I don’t have a problem with “men behaving badly” comedies but this one seems unnecessarily dark, often mistaking edge for humor.

Breaking down all the complaints lobbied at a film that simply didn’t have anywhere near the critical adoration of the first one (which was so highly praised that it won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy), the fact is that “The Hangover Part II” just isn’t that funny. It’s like hearing the same joke again only with a little more profanity.

The Blu-ray release of “The Hangover Part II” features one of the most self-consciously annoying featurettes of the year, a fake behind-the-scenes piece that purports to be an unauthorized documentary about the movie. Hey guys, take a real risk. Do a commentary on the disappointing critical response. Talk about the controversy with Mel Gibson or how Liam Neeson then ended up on the cutting room floor. If you want to be edgy, quit hiding behind silly behavior. Maybe the third time’s the charm.

Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding. What could go wrong? Director Todd Phillips’ explosively funny follow-up to his award-winning smash hit demonstrates that though what happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, what happens in Bangkok can hardly be imagined!

Special Features:
o Unauthorized Documentary
o The Comedy Rhythm Of Todd Phillips
o Not Your Everyday Monkey
o Bangkok Tour With Chow
o Gag Reel
o BD Live Enabled
o Ultraviolet Digital Copy Of Feature Film

“The Hangover Part II” stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Jeffrey Tambor, and Paul Giamatti. It was directed by Todd Phillips and released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 6th, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

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