The Hangover Part II
Directed by Todd Phillips, (4/5).
Disclaimer: If you haven’t watched the The Hangover (2009), go and do so before reading this.
With The Hangover earning more than $467 million worldwide – the top grossing R-rated comedy of all time – it was no surprise that director Todd Phillips didn’t want to mess with success. So, The Hangover II mimics its predecessor almost identically, except with an obvious difference; its backdrop of South East Asia’s version of Sin City, Bangkok, “Thighland”.
It is no surprise that the movie picks up where it left off two years earlier, except this time it’s dentist Stu who’s about to tie the knot with his Thai partner Lauren. Despite ultra-cautious Stu’s best intentions, history nevertheless repeats itself. After a “harmless seaside toast” to the groom, things go terribly wrong and the “Wolfpack” have to retrace their steps from the night before, which landed them in a fleabag Bangkok Hotel alongside a chain-smoking capuchin monkey.
Surprisingly, The Hangover Part II is far from the letdown I was expecting after the success of its Las Vegas counterpart. The film must be commended for its foul-mouthed willingness to cross the line again and again. When we see the expected appearance of one of Bangkok's most infamous exports, namely, um, she-males, it is in such an outrageously evocative way that very few would see it, cough, coming. Combined with the sleazy drug-slammed criminal Mr. Cheow (whose introduction in the sequel literally needs to be seen to be believed), and the film's general air of vulgar hilarity, it’s sure to trigger most people’s pubescent funny-bone.
The film’s star performance comes once again from Zach Galifianakis as Alan, who steals every scene he is in. Despite all his insanely inappropriate comments (some left me cringing in my seat in horror), his character somehow gets even more ridiculous than when we left last time.
Overall, The Hangover Part II doesn’t trigger as much deep or spontaneous laughter as the raucous original, but with these familiar characters back for another ride, it was certainly not going to be a disappointment. The result is much like visiting Thailand: amidst all the possibility of disease, I would still go – just to say that I have been.