[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00DUF0IFO][/pullquote] The Wolfpack is Back! the poster for The Hangover Part II exclaims, which proves more accurate than is believable. When we were first introduced to Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), there was a real sense of interest and intrigue about them all. The cast played off of each other perfectly as silly situation followed silly situation into a crescendo of chaos set against the famous Las Vegas skyline. This time the action is moved to Bangkok as the gang end up getting drugged once again, leading to a mad race to find their missing fourth before the wedding day.
Unlike other comedies of the same type, The Hangover teased the audience by revealing the events of the previous evening one at a time. Picking up two years after the original, the plot sees Stu getting married again and he invites, reluctantly in Alan’s case, the original cast to Thailand. Once there, a ˜quiet drink’ on the beach turns into another night of debauchery that no one can remember. The rest of The Hangover Part II involves piecing together clues that lead them to the events of the evening and a desperate attempt to find their missing friend, this time Stu’s future wife’s brother. Fans of the first film will notice the similarities between the two from the start.
The unique way in which the nights’ events are concealed was a big part of the success of the first film. This attraction is lost in The Hangover Part II because we’ve seen it all before. Stu has another facial disfigurement, there’s a monk instead of a baby, a monkey instead of a tiger and the surroundings move from Las Vegas to Bangkok. These lazy plot repeats are not a problem providing the film is funny. There are some laugh-out-load moments, mainly delivered from the hapless Alan, but the overall laugh quota is way down from the first film. Whilst most will remember Galifianakis’ comedic moments, the real star is Ed Helms’ Stu who has made a career of being the polite underdog. He provides a character that the audience can really connect with and cheer for, although he doesn’t quite achieve the same punch-the-air moment as he does in the first film. That goes for the whole of The Hangover: Part II and by the end you hope that this will be the last outing for the Wolfpack.
There are some good laughs and some gross-out moments, but aside from them the film at no point deviates from the successful formula of the first film and it ends up feeling like a cheap imitation devoid of the originality or the heart that made The Hangover so good.