Posted on 5/25/11 04:53 PM
If anyone reading this hasn't had the enormous pleasure of seeing the first film (which means probably nobody) then you might enjoy this. For the rest of us that I will assume are in the majority, structurally HANGOVER PART II is simply, and disappointingly nothing more than a simulacrum of the first. I made this complaint last week in my review of the latest PIRATES film, but I had no idea that I would seeing a veritable plagiarism of previous material so quickly, and so cowardly at the beginning of the summer.
Perhaps this can be attributed to studio intervention who are beginning to see the 3D feature fade financially (until the next AVATAR film); maybe the suits for PIRATES & HANGOVER sequels are afraid to tamper with a previous winning formula. I think they might be on to something; 2011 is beginning to look bleak financially when you consider that by this time last year we had 2 films in the B.O. that would go on to cross the $1 billion mark.*
But as bad as this lurid palimpsest of a film is, I really don't have to preface this review with **Warning! Spoilers ahead!**; everything that goes down in the first, actually goes down in the second with very little variation.
Feckless Ed Helms's Stu Price is, once again, on the receiving end of his own inner Jekyll/Hyde complex. It made no sense in the first which was fine, but it is totally stupefying in the second. Why the hell is he the only one who turns into Caligula on the stag night with the 'Wolf Pack'? You assume in the sequel that they might think to explore this (note to Todd Philips: that's a suggestion, sir, for the inevitable 3rd film...) And maybe it's just me, but Helms's performance begins to atrophy mid-way through, and his histrionic caterwauling is overused.
You can file Zach Galifiankis's Alan Garner on the heels of Helms here too. There are a few genuine funny moments, but we get nothing new here.
Bradley Cooper's Phil Wenneck fares the best of the three, but that appears to be owing to the fact that he's written that way which Cooper effectively exploits.
The resulting sequel is, well, a vain cash grab at the B. O. (which it will achieve). But with amputations, gratuitous schlongs, this darker, more menacing sequel to the first has more in common with the Jason Statham CRANK films than the first HANGOVER film. This is formulaic and uninspired.
I actually think a cameo by Mel Gibson or Liam Neeson would've stolen the show; (Cassavetes was, well, no big deal). As of right now, I'm not so sure I'll be interested in seeing the 3rd film...
*See AVATAR & ALICE IN WONDERLAND