Now Showing: The Hangover Part II

Have you seen The Hangover? Yeah, so you’ve pretty much seen The Hangover Part II. The gang, still consisting of Stu, Phil, Alan, and Doug, get themselves into trouble in Bangkok. Of course, they remember nothing the next morning and must piece together their mistakes or they may never see Stu’s fiancée’s brother ever again.
I started this review as a comparison between Bridesmaids and The Hangover Part II (my friends and I recently treated ourselves to a double feature of the two). I had some awesome points about comediennes and immaturity and what’s wrong with today’s cinema. I had all of these awesome big words that I was going to use. But, lucky for you my dear reader, I remembered that I’m writing a movie review not the five-page paper that I truly want to write (CURSE YOU SUMMER VACATION). But, I still refuse to drop my core argument, so you get the Sparkotes version.
The Hangover Part II lacks the originality, intelligence, and heart that can be found in Bridesmaids. I highly suggest you see Bridesmaids instead, although I presume that if you weren’t already planning to see The Hangover Part II, one of your friends is going to drag you anyway, so you’re probably a lost cause (no offense). But, it’s lucky for me, because I get to rant about things I care about.
My friends and I got into a fascinating debate on the way home from the movie. And by that I mean, I was quickly told to stop my inane movie talk as it was 2:30am and no one wanted to play the compare-contrast game with me. Understandable. Before that, though, I was getting a sense from my friends that they felt cheated as audience members of The Hangover Part II.
All of us felt as though we laughed hard enough at the original film therefore the filmmakers knew already that they could count on our movie ticket sales and did not put enough effort into the comedy. The plot is completely recycled and the jokes are getting old. A little ditty played by Ed Helms and the discovery of an animal in a hotel bathroom isn’t going to make us laugh the second time around. This is when I started pushing my friends and asking why, if the films were indeed identical, we had stopped laughing. Why could some people watch the original eight times over, but the sequel annoys us with its lack of novelty? Although my questions may be unanswerable, I think there’s a lot to say for an audience who feels a sense of loyalty to a film franchise and then doesn’t see that same passion come from the filmmakers. If, through their lack of originality, we think that they have given up on the films, and us by extension, we will instinctively become offended.
Blood, monkeys, prostitutes, unexpected tattoos, and penises can totally be funny. Presumably if you put them all in your movie and add a little Galifianakis quirk, someone will laugh. And everyone probably will at one or two points during the film, but you won’t feel good about yourself for laughing. It’s not wit, it’s not smart, some of the situations are just outrageous enough to get a chuckle. Oh, I forgot, people fall and get injured and stuff. LOL.
And don’t even get me started on how women are portrayed in The Hangover Part II. GOD. At least in the first movie, the fiancée took a stand; yes, she was pretty much a bitch, but she knew how to stand up for herself. If you want to see a submissive Asian woman agree with everything that a white man says, but don’t want to sit through the entirety of Madame Butterfly, look no further than The Hangover Part II because “Stu’s fiancée” will give you that racist and sexist satisfaction (I put her in quotations because no one’s going to remember her name and based on the depth of her character, I cannot confirm or deny that she was supposed to be a human not a robot – third movie twist? nah that’d be straying WAY too far from the formula).
Some of you might already know that I’m not one for cheese (Exhibit A, B, C). But, despite popular belief, it’s not an aversion to the good things in life. In fact, I love Disney World. But I digress. Although I hate over-the-top corniness in movies, I appreciate realism and whether we like it or not, reality has some joviality.
Ignoring the points that I made above about women, The Hangover Part II makes no effort to prove that its characters give a shit about each other. And we’re supposed to laugh at the misfortune of said characters’ unlikability. We’re supposed to be brought on this journey in which Stu strives for the approval of his future father-in-law and the gang reconnects through their shared blackout experiences. But, there’s no heart. There’s no reason to think that our characters care about each other, which begs the question why should we care about them? The masterminds behind The Hangover series had four hours for character development, but they have left us with stagnant, flat idiots for the most part (see: they cheated their audience).
It is clear by now that I do not recommend you spend your money on The Hangover Part II. But if you’re between the ages of 12-30, you’re probably going to anyway. And that’s fine, but I hope that, as the intelligent audience member you are, you’re offended by what you’ve been given. The next time you ask yourself, if it’s not broke, why fix it? Remember, The Hangover Part II.

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