Director Todd Phillips gives you a significant reason to be miserable at the movies with his dismal The Hangover Part II, a lifeless, sinister, nasty retread of the first film. As a huge fan of the first movie, I declare this one of the year’s biggest movie letdowns.
The film is like a little kid who does something stupid at a birthday party and manages to get a couple of giggles. Inspired by these giggles, the stupid kid starts going crazy, repeating the stupid act ad nauseum and perhaps farting or throwing his shit at the wall in a desperate grab for further laughter through gross-out humor. His audience sits, mouth agape, almost kind of frightened and surely not laughing. When the stupid kid’s show is over, his birthday party audience proceeds to kick his ass.
I have a funny feeling many critics will do the same to this movie.
Things start promisingly enough, with Bradley Cooper’s Phil doing a new variation of the desperate phone call he made in the first film. He and his pals Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) are in trouble again on a wedding’s eve.
This time, the wolf pack is hazy and stuck in Bangkok after a wild night before Stu’s Thailand wedding. Stu wakes up with a Mike Tyson tattoo on his face, Alan’s head is shaved, and Stu’s future brother-in-law has gone missing. (All that’s left behind is a finger.) There’s a crazy monkey in the room and, of course, Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) shows his incredibly small penis again.
Cooper is funny in this scene, and he should be. He’s doing the same thing all over again. And that’s what most of this movie is: the same basic plot all over again. But this time, Phillips makes his movie darker, nastier and, consequently, quite unfunny.
Instead of a tiger, you get the scene-stealing monkey in a Rolling Stones denim vest. Instead of Stu losing a tooth, he gets a tattoo on his face. And the actual Mike Tyson sings another song and, believe me, the air has gone out of that joke balloon. You also get Galifianakis doing his usual goofball shtick, and that’s a shtick I am officially getting sick of.
Phillips explored the darker side of his comedic mind with last year’s mildly amusing Due Date, which, in itself, was a rip-off of Planes, Trains & Automobiles. He scored some good laughs, mostly due to Robert Downey Jr.’s appalled reactions to the horrible things going on around him. It was a departure for Phillips in that the film lacked the usual, joyful exuberance of his misbehaving cinema. I took it as a momentary departure.
The Hangover Part II is proof that Due Date was just the beginning of the nasty stuff because Phillips really wants to get down and dirty. It also amounts to Phillips ripping himself off. As opposed to the bright lights of Las Vegas, the wolf pack is wallowing in dark, dank rooms and strip bars populated by transvestite hookers. If you remember, Stu has a penchant for hookers. Well, guess what happens to Stu this time?
In addition to the horrors Stu brings upon himself, characters overdose, get their fingers cut off, and get publicly humiliated by the monkey. OK, the monkey publicly humiliating an old man is actually funny. If the movie didn’t have the monkey—the same monkey that slapped Ben Stiller around in Night at the Museum—it would contain even fewer laughs than the meager amount it already has. There’s just something about the sight of a monkey taking a slow drag on a cigarette that makes me giggle.
Hey, Todd Phillips, buy yourself some expensive cigars with the mountains of money you will make with this piece of shit. Share those cigars with directors Michael Bay and Brett Ratner, because you are officially a shameless hack until further notice.