Reviews & Previews - The Hangover Part II

Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 06:00 PM

The Hangover Part II

Reviewed by: S. Tran

Starring:  Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong
Director: Todd Phillips
Rated : R
Running time: 102 minutes

Some People Know How to Party

One of the biggest surprises for me in recent years was The Hangover from 2009. It was such a funny movie that my expectations for the sequel were high enough that I didn't think I would be as surprised or laugh as hard. Familiarity works for TV shows where you watch a number of shows and become invested in the characters. For a comedy with a premise like The Hangover 2 though it strips away that shiny "new movie" flavour and the result is a really funny movie that still is not quite as good as the original.

It's two years after the events of the original film and Stu (Helms) is getting married in Thailand. Having learned his lesson after the debacle in Las Vegas he is adamant that there will be no stag party. Phil (Cooper) is unhappy about the plan but grudgingly accepts his friend's decision. Reluctantly, they invite Alan (Galifianakis) to the wedding and with the preliminaries over the movie shifts to Thailand where we meet Stu's inexplicably hot wife.

Despite their best efforts to not get into any trouble Phil, Stu and Alan once again wake up the day before the wedding with no idea where they are or how they got there. Luckily this time they have not lost the groom. Unfortunately, they have managed to lose the bride's 16 year old brother Teddy. As people in the movie are fond of saying "Bangkok has him now". The rest of the movie is a slapstick race around Bangkok as the "wolfpack" as Alan refers to the trio, races around the city trying to piece together the events of the previous night so they can find Teddy.

There's no real harm in giving you the set up for the film because, as with the first one, the real story is unraveling the events leading up to the time the boys wake up. With the crazy events from the last film the producers had no choice but to try and ramp things up a bit with this one and by moving it to Thailand they gave themselves some extra ammunition to bring the funny. 

The chemistry with the characters is still spot on and perhaps even better than the first time around as they had one movie to establish themselves already. Helms in particular is one of the better physical comedy actors currently working and has a great sense of timing and understanding of when to really let go and when to reign things in. Galifianakis' is still good as the man-child who borders on creepy stalker, serial killer while making us laugh. Cooper is always solid but it seems there is less for him to do in this movie than in the last one.

The one thing that I liked a little less about this film was that I found the situations the guys found themselves in to be a little too far out there. Sure, its a comedy and things are supposed to be absurd. But in the first movie there seem to be that tenuous connection to reality, however slight. Here things spiral so out of control that it sometimes felt that things were thrown in just for the sake of a laugh rather than as a natural part of the story. Still, its a very minor complaint.

As in the first movie the writers did a good job in keeping the focus on the comedy and not bothering us with any kind of subplots and the movie doesn't have a lot of dull moments. Also well done is the ultimate reveal of the fate of Teddy.

If you like the first movie you will still like this one. Looking back I gave the original film 3.5 out of 5 stars when it probably deserved a 4 out of 5. For the sequel I think it deserves a solid 3.5 out of 5. A very funny movie, just missing the freshness of the original.

3.5 stars out of 5


S. Tran also writes at, and


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to