In a classic case of going to the well just once too often, "Hangover, Part II" should be a lesson to all directors and screenwriters that what sets a successful sequel apart is SOME kind of divergence from the original movie's plot.
But if a story about three friends who end up in crazy situations while celebrating their buddy's upcoming wedding can make $300 million at the box office, why argue with success. Like most recent Hollywood tales, the writers aren't stupid, they just dupe it.
Plus, I truly cannot decide what was the worst moments of this picture, the jokes, the writing, the forced nudity and vulgarity, the poorly mismatched vignettes or the assaultingly bad obscene rap soundtrack I was forced to endure. Let's just say it was all equally horrible and added up to one lousy day at the movies.
Director Todd Phillips (who did himself no favors in helming "Due Date" between the first and second versions of this film) brought most of the cast from the wildly popular "Hangover" back for what amounts to a major rehashing with Bangkok substituting for Las Vegas.
Here, the idiotic trio, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu the dentist (Ed Helms, "The Office") and the obnoxious Alan (Zach Galifianakis, "Due Date"), who were shanghaied in Vegas during Stu's bachelor party, now find it's deja vu all over again. This time, however, the raunchy fun and silliness of that plot is replaced by drugs, death and dismemberment and few laughs of which to speak.
Add to the mishmash a ton of completely unnecessary supporting characters (Stu's brother-in-law-to-be, Teddy, Mason Lee; the coked out Chow, Ken Jeong; Mr. Kingsley, Paul Giamati looking like Jabba the Hut in a leisure suit; a totally unfunny Middle Eastern gun dealer; a gruff future father-in-law, as well as a smoking, drug-dealing monkey that replaces part one's tiger) and you will feel like you're in the midst of an actual hangover.
And that's sad, because there were a few genuine laughs in this picture, and not the kind in which a character just repeats the F-word over and over again (which all of the characters did, by the way) or with homo-erotic situations that seemed more bad afterthought than real comedic inspiration. Most of the guffaw lines came from the pompous nerd Galifianakis, his long locks now shorn as a tribute to a night of debauchery.
Helms also gets in a few decent scenes, most revolving around his discovery that the tattoo on his face pays silent homage to Mike Tyson. Cooper, on the other hand, while a pretty face, comes nowhere near a laugh in the movie's mercifully short 100-minute running time.
The funniest scene in the movie, for me anyway, was Stu holding a bachelor party brunch at IHOP while his disbelieving friends sit stunned. If only that kind of inspired fun could have permeated the rest of the film.
Don't think too much about this one, though, friends. Just get some aspirin, ginger ale, black coffee, tomato juice or the hair of the dog — anything to erase this awful hangover from your system.