The Hangover Part II
The Hangover Part II should have been dubbed The Hangover Remix. Part II suggests the film to be creative and built upon the shenanigans of the middling original. Instead, the sequel merely remixes it, regurgitating the exact same plot and characters with the addition of a new setting and new level of tastelessness.
In this remix, The Hangover takes place in Thailand. With some preposterous gimmicks from Todd Phillips, all the members of the wolfpack return, as well as the flamboyant gangster, Chow (Ken Jeong). This time Stu (Ed Helms) prepares for marriage in place of Doug (Justin Bartha). On the night before the wedding, the guys make a toast on the beach. Then, just like the original, the film cuts to the following morning. The guys wake up in a seedy hotel in Bangkok, where Alan (Zach Galifianakis) finds his head shaved, Stu discovers a Mike Tyson tattoo on his face and a mysterious monkey appears. They also realize they’ve lost Teddy (Mason Lee), the little brother of Stu’s soon-to-be
The ridiculous situation sets up the same narrative played out in the first Hangover. Led by the trusty Phil (Bradley Cooper), the guys try to retrace their steps to figure out just what happened the night before. Predictably, Alan proves to be the man to blame. In hopes of keeping the trite plot fresh, though, Phillips decides to enhance the amount of absurdity and crudeness surrounding it, which takes an already too-crass story and makes it disgusting.
After learning that the guys wound up at a brothel in Bangkok, Stu soon discovers he cheated on his fiancee with one of the women. At first he feels shocked, but Phil calms him down, telling him it’s no big deal. That’s until they realize the women aren’t women (the evidence of which is shown vividly and for a long period of time on the screen). Stu’s partner then describes the previous night in detail, much to his disgust. This gross, pornographic scenario intends to be funny, but it’s really just repulsive and unnecessary, especially considering the pictures we see of Stu’s sexual experience at the end of the film.
There are countless sequences like this throughout The Hangover Part II, including several supposedly funny parts in which Chow energetically snorts cocaine as if drug addiction is humorous. Phillips also relies on an excess of profanity to draw laughs. It’s not clever or creative. It’s cheap and trite.
In one scene Phil tells Stu he shouldn’t worry about his immoral actions. He tells him to just forget about them, and eventually the shame will go away. Stu replies and says, “But I’ve got a devil inside me.” “So what?” Phil remarks. The same concept returns in the film’s finale when Stu faces his fiancee’s father, who hates him. Stu comes clean about the whole night and tells everyone at the wedding about his dark side—the devil inside him. Instead of confronting his depravity, though, he embraces it. He boasts in it. He undermines the reality of it.
All of this reflects Phillips’ worldview and the attitude of our confused culture. The words of Teddy highlight it: “I can’t remember anything, but I woke up feeling happy.”
Uninspired, unfunny and perverse with a few laughs scattered throughout, The Hangover Part II sets morals aside and both glamorizes and makes light of sin. Even if it’s just supposed to be silly entertainment, there’s no getting around that.