Plagued by Predictability, “The Hangover II” Disappoints

Plagued by Predictability, The Hangover II Disappoints

James Cullinane

Plagued by Predictability, "The Hangover II" Disappoints

Arguably the greatest comedic accomplishment of 2009, “The Hangover,” through its unpredictable hilarity, evolved into one of the most quotable movies in recent history.  In turn, the careers of the three essential members of the Wolf Pack, Bradley Cooper (Phil), Ed Helms (Stu), and Zach Galifianakis (Alan), have taken off.  Unfortunately, the success of the “The Hangover” and its stars has brought about the opening of a very dangerous Pandora’s Box: sequels.

Released on May 26, 2011, “The Hangover:Part II” soared to incomparable heights at the box office.  However, this box office success fails to deliver an accurate portrayal of this strikingly unoriginal film.  To put it simply, “The Hangover II” is truthfully a carbon copy of its predecessor, filled with new punchlines and even more full frontal nudity.  Unfortunately for director Todd Phillips, these punchlines lack the luster to satisfy those who felt such deep admiration of “The Hangover.”  Furthermore, the aforementioned full frontal nudity that was featured sparingly in the original “Hangover” is used so routinely in its sequel that one cannot help but feel Phillips is desperate and will do anything for a laugh.

The quality of the comedy is the true disappointment of the film.  Well, that along with its oppressively imitative nature of course.  By enlisting the services of Scot Armstrong, the comedic genius behind “Old School,” many thought Phillips could avoid falling into the imitation trap; these people were proven wrong as “The Hangover II’s” recycled plot provides average viewers with the ability to know exactly what is going to happen five minutes in advance.  One cannot help but wonder, “What are the chances of these guys getting that drunk again?”  Furthermore, what are the chances that the Wolf Pack would once again lose a member?  The slim chances of these drunken hi-jinxes occurring are what made “The Hangover” so popular to begin with; there recurrences are unnecessary to say the least.  For those looking for a brilliant screenplay, “The Hangover II” is going to be far from satisfying, as Philips fails to break new ground.

This being said, “The Hangover II” is far from a dud.  The audience will erupt into laughter at times, but then again, why else would anyone cast Zach Galifianakis?  Arguably the most integral character in the success of “The Hangover II,” it seems as though Alan’s antics are being forced upon viewers by Phillips and company.  Luckily, Galifianakis’ facial expressions alone can draw laughs.  Similarly to Alan, Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), a minor character in the original installment, takes on a much larger role in its sequel.  Jeong’s performance is undeniably side splitting and is one of the few overwhelmingly bright highlights of “The Hangover II.”  Honestly, the past holds no memory of an actor being so beloved by an audience while habitually delivering racial and homophobic slurs.  Both Galifianakis and Jeong alike were inarguably entertaining, but the frequency with which they are featured becomes unintentionally abrasive.

The greatest gift of “The Hangover” was its originality; its plot line was unparalleled and seemingly unimaginable.  Unfortunately, the inimitable nature of its precursor would prove to be the thorn in the side of “The Hangover:Part II.”  “The Hangover” was close to modern comedic perfection, leaving absolutely no questions to be answered.  Warner Brothers, Phillips, and the entire film’s cast, signed on for a sequel that frankly, the world did not really want or need.  Why would they do this?  The answer is self evidently money, which arrived exponentially as theaters across the nation flooded with viewers.  So yes, for Warner Brothers, “The Hangover II” was a brilliant decision, which could lead to “The Hangover III,” or God forbid, “The Hangover IV.” For the sake of not tarnishing the original’s reputation, viewers must plead for WB to avoid going down the “Caddyshack 2” path.  “The Hangover: Part II” was not a disaster, but it is almost certain that any further installment will be.  The message to Warner Brothers is clear, you got away with a comedy sequel once, now please do not try your luck again.