Movie Review: The Hangover Part II Tries Harder Than You’ll Laugh

the hangover 2 meditation

It should come as no surprise that The Hangover was a runaway hit; the film took an experience common to those aged 21 years or older (or any college student) and literally elevated it to an art form, expanding the “What did I do last night?” day-after drama into a cinematic experience. The Hangover was an Animal House for a new generation, one that begins nights with the crack of a beer and ends them at the crack of dawn. Clearly, excess was the key to The Hangover‘s success, which is likely why Todd Phillips and company opted to kick everything up a notch for The Hangover Part II.

While this strategy certainly paid off at the box office – The Hangover Part II reeled in $86.5 million in its debut weekend – the film itself suffers. While moments in The Hangover often felt effortlessly humorous, there is a definite feeling that the writers are trying too hard to be outrageous throughout The Hangover Part II. The writers from the original film were left in the dust as Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin (Scary Movie 4) and Scot Armstrong (Old School, Semi-Pro) could take over and kick everything up a notch. The script-writing session probably sounded something like this:

“Sure, Vegas was zany…why not make it Bangkok this time? Missing teeth in round one? How about a facial tattoo and a missing finger in Part II? Stealing Mike Tyson’s tiger? Child’s play – let’s steal a monk and share some intimate moments with a transvestite hooker.”

Unfortunately, The Hangover Part II‘s attempts to outdo The Hangover are palpable throughout, and the film – while funny at times, hilariously so in some instances – can feel forced and occasionally, stupid. There are some plot weaknesses and logical holes, but this is the Jersey Shore generation, so don’t think, just laugh. For what The Hangover Part II is: a nonsensical, entertaining film that is a veritable factory of quotable lines, the film works.

Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong faithfully reprise their roles, delivering every line like a punch line. One line in particular – “it happened again” – is particularly apt, as the biggest difference in the story between the first film and this is the location. In fact, The Hangover Part II feels less like a case of alcohol-induced amnesia and more like cash-grabbing deja vu.

You can watch The Hangover online right here. A trailer for The Hangover Part II is below.

The Hangover Part II Trailer