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Film Review: The Hangover Part II

May 27, 2011 11:31AM ● By Wendy Sipple

Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married to Lauren who happens to be from Thailand. In an effort to try and win her father over Stu agrees to have his wedding in her home country. Along for the journey are Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Doug (Justin Bartha). Stu is pushed into including Alan (Zach Galifianakis) -- who is too eager to go, not so much for the wedding but for the reuniting of the “Wolfpack.”

Despite Stu’s best efforts to avoid a bachelor party, a midnight drink on the beach turns into a drug-blitzed evening in Bangkok that Stu, Alan and Phil cannot remember. To make matters worse, the group loses Lauren’s prodigy brother Teddy. The movie mainly has the trio trying to recount their evening in order to find Teddy in time for Stu’s wedding.

I feel as though I will be in the minority in my opinion, but I enjoyed The Hangover Part II more than the original. The main reason is that I found Ed Helms's character of Stu a much easier character to have empathy for than the original’s main character of Doug. In fact, Doug is left out of the film for the most part. Ed Helms has a lovable guy type of vibe that just makes him easy to like.
The jokes and situations in this sequel are bigger and grosser than the first. It’s over the top flair worked for me. It also helped to see it in a sold out theater with a crowd of people laughing. I saw the original on my couch without the laugh track of the audience, and I think that definitely affected my opinion of the first film. A movie like The Hangover Part II benefits greatly from the theater experience. Hearing others laugh definitely makes a comedy better or at the very least funnier.
The problems people will have is that The Hangover Part II is in large part the same movie as the first film. It has the same set up and the same basic plot. They did very little to change or add anything new to the experience. So if you are a fan of the original but are going to the sequel to see something more or different added to the mix you will be disappointed.
A major ingredient that both The Hangover and The Hangover Part II lack for me is heart. The characters in these movies are self-serving and find themselves in their predicaments because of their own stupidity and childish behavior. No growth of any of these characters take place so the movies exist mainly on plot. And because, over the course of these films, the lead characters are shown to be a bunch of jerks and knuckleheads it’s very hard to buy Lauren’s or her family's reactions at the end of the film. Why would anyone like or trust these guys?
If you are a fan of the first film you will get some laughs out of this movie, just adjust your expectations to see a remake instead of a sequel. When a third Hangover movie is made -- and based on the money that this sequel is set to make one will be made -- I hope the writers try to add something different to the story. Heck, it could be a drunken night of Stu and Lauren’s honeymoon, but rehashing another wild bachelor party won’t work a third time I fear.
Todd Phillips, the writer and director, is capable of making a very funny movie. Old School is a tremendously funny movie. Even though I had my problems with the original Hangover, the story had some very creative writing to it. I hope in the next sequel Todd Phillips brings something new and inventive to the series, he is definitely capable of doing it.

Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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