In 2009 a movie hit theaters that quickly became the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time. “The Hangover” was a hilarious raunch with a simple, yet ingenious premise – three friends wake up in Vegas the night after a bachelor party and can’t remember what they did with the groom.
Never saw the original? Don’t worry, the only thing “The Hangover Part II” changes is the city. “Part II” is a blatant carbon copy of the original which, surprisingly, wasn’t as disappointing as I had expected.
The original cast is back and this time Stu (Ed Helms) is getting ready to tie the knot in Thailand. After an innocent campfire on the beach, the boys wake up in a dingy Bangkok motel without any idea how they got there or where Stu’s 16-year-old soon-to-be brother-in-law is.
Some minor details have changed: they stole a monkey, not a tiger, someone’s missing a finger, not a tooth, Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) gets locked in a freezer, not the trunk of a car, but you get the idea.
What saved the movie from being a complete waste was how self-aware the characters are. They know they’re in the same movie. They know there’s no way this should be happening again. In fact, it leads one of the main characters’ wives to beg the question, “Again?! Seriously, what’s wrong with you three?”
But, in their defense, they have learned from their mistakes. Their first step is to ask Alan (Zach Galifianakis) what he drugged them with (as he did in the first one), and their second step is to check the motel roof (where they hid the groom before).
The three leads (Helms, Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper) are just as funny and enjoyable here as they were the first time around. While Galifianakis’ humor is an acquired taste, eccentric Alan steals the show with his absurd dialog and actions. I wonder sometimes if Alan is scripted that awkwardly or that’s just what Galifianakis brings to the character.
Cooper’s character is also more enjoyable this time. Cooper is always dependable as the sarcastic jerk (“Wedding Crashers,” “A-Team”) and he’s given every chance here to play into that archetype. Phil, his character, is given some of the best lines in the film as he plays, essentially, the straight-man to Helms’ panic attacks and Galifianakis’ … um … Alanness. Plus, let’s be honest, Bradley Cooper is just really yummy to look at.
I didn’t hate this movie like I had expected too. Yes, you’ve seen this story before, but the jokes are fresh and just as funny. And the Mike Tyson cameo came out of left field, again, and made me chuckle. I’ll probably go see the third one too, because, like all hangovers, you can swear you’ll never put yourself through it again, but you know you will.