Monday, May 30, 2011

Review - The Hangover Part 2 (2011)

“Seriously what is wrong with you three?”

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helm, Zack Galifianakis and Ken Jeong
Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong

I think I can hear what most people are going to ask. Is it similar to the first movie? Well not wanting to get ahead of myself, but yes. Maybe things are a little more amped, but the beats are pretty much all there, including the way it ends. Does this make the movie a disappointment? I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said I wasn’t a tad. But does that make it a bad movie? Well read on people and find out.

First off we will get this over and out of the way. When I say that this movie is similar to its predecessor I mean it. The ending unfolds the same, the movie unfolds by the bread crumb trail of clues, and the boys are driven by the same search for the missing person. It’s a tad off putting really as it shows nearly zero creativity, and yet I was still laughing throughout the movie. Basically the movie realises that with the course being set by the previous movie, the only option is too become more outrageous and over the top. While it was nice change that one of the boys (Ed Helm) was the groom it didn’t really make much of a difference. The writing does a great disservice to this movie as maybe with a few tweaks, and a few change ups this sequel could of been a rare one up on the original. As it stands the script does seem to misplace one of the most important things the first had, it's heart.

So while not being drawn in by the plot this time round, the comedy was all on the shoulders of the characters. Bradley Cooper’s Phil is the rock in the middle of the group, and honestly while I think Cooper did a good enough job, I don’t think he was given all that much to do. I honestly didn’t care about his character, and it did seem that he hadn’t developed much from the last time. Zack Galifianakis as Alan was doing his normal shtick and yet this time he wasn’t that sympathetic. In the first Hangover I did feel a little for him, he was trying hard to fit in, and he was just this outcast that maybe could have been a good person if he had good friends. However this time around he was just an arsehole, and while he did soften later in the movie I couldn’t stand him some times. Thankfully I think this is more to do with the script, as when away from his arsehole moments, I did find him enjoyable. Ken Jeong returns as Mr Chow and is the one line king in this movie. There is always the possibility of these type of characters wearing out their welcome, but yet I was still hooked. Finally I’ve left Ed Helms as Stu till last. He is truly the stand out of this film, thanks to having much of the plot on his shoulders he was the make or break character. While I thought he was a little short changed by the script, he really kicked ass. Moments of weakness, strength, insanity, everything was here and I was the most invested in Stu. My hats off to Ed Helm as it seemed most of the heart that was in the first movie, had left this sequel, and yet what was left was all because of him.

The look of the film was a bit grimy, which I guess is good for the setting. It was nice to being able to immerse into a place, which frankly I wouldn’t want to go there my self. Well maybe the island getaways. Still this look did produce a movie that finally breaks free from its predecessor. Some scenes you could really feel the sweat. However this is a comedy so don’t expect visuals to knock you on the arse. It does its job in setting up the atmosphere, and allows for the feeling that the boys are a long way from home. So I guess that’s a thumb’s up there for the movie.

I’ve read some other reviews criticising this movie about its lack of originality. But that’s not really a problem, because if it captured everything from the first movie then we would have all thought it was a good laugh. It may have lost a point or so. The real problem is the laziness in some of the writing, character arcs are not fully explored, and the heart the first movie had is lacking in this entry making it a lesser film. Still I can’t rip this movie to shreds because I did laugh. I left the theatre a little amped. So if you are looking for a good comedy go and see The Hangover Part 2, just don’t go expecting anything to original. Oh and if you hated the first I would skip this. You’ve been warned.

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