After the wild (and well warranted) success of former Vault Pick "The Hangover" there were rumors going around that this sequel (because you KNEW there had to be sequel) was basically going to be them filling in the gaps of what happened in Vegas that we missed. Not a bad concept but it would have taken away some of the mystique of the original. That same mystique which was a huge part of making it a classic. So they had no choice but to make a whole new story. And even though the trailer did not look that good to me, I still felt the need to see it.
In this follow-up to the classic, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifanakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to Thailand for Stu's wedding. Stu's not taking any chances this time around so there is no bachelor party planned at all. However, it only takes one night out with the guys for things to get carried away again. It's just a matter of time before they wake up the following morning with no clue of the night's events and what happens in Bangkok could be worse than the Vegas trip.
I tried to overlook the fact that this one got off to a very slow start. I wasn't expecting to be busting a gut right away. But then it dawned on me that the laughs were pretty instant with the original. Now I have said before that I don't particularly like comparing sequels to their predecessors, but you really help but to do it. If the original was a comedy the you would expect the follow-up to be at least just as funny. Or at least get off to a quicker start.
The slow start was only part of their problem though. Once "Hangover 2" finally got to some funny moments, they really weren't that hilarious. There were some instances by the always reliable Galifanakis that will definitely make you crack a smile, but that's about the extent of it. I think they blew so much of the element of surprise with his presence in the first one that he was almost fighting a losing battle trying to keep up that same pace in "Hangover 2".
It was obvious that the writers felt Zach's comedic skills could carry the film. It wasn't entirely a bad gamble since he had done it before. What they failed to overlook was the success of the first film was due to the excellent writing they had for the other characters surrounding Zach. That didn't take place in "Hangover 2". I was getting the feeling that the other characters were relying on Zach to provide the lion's share of the comedy. With the exception of Ed Helms who had one great scene at a strip club. But beyond that, their rolling the dice on the hopes of a Jordanesque performance from Zach did not come through.
Their biggest downfall the writers had was they ultimately became a victim of their own success. Remember how there were a few flicks that came out shortly after the "Hangover" explosion that tried tor repeat its formula and they couldn't pull it off? They are pretty much guilty of the same thing with "Hangover 2". Sometimes you get lucky when you follow the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality, but this is proof positive that it can also backfire.
The thing was that I knew from just the trailer that this sequel wasn't going to be all that good. There was just nothing about it that stood out. Still I tried to rationalize that even a sub-par follow-up to an instant classic would better than nothing. After sitting through half the flick struggling to find something to die laughing at, I realized that may not necessarily be true. In fact, I am now thinking they probably should have left well enough alone and not attempted to capture lightning twice.
My rating: C -