To steal a quote from a much better movie (The Wrestler), I think this perfectly describes my feelings about The Hangover Part II: “You know what? I don’t care. I don’t hate you. I don’t love you. I don’t even like you. And it was stupid to think that you could change. I don’t care. There is no more fixing this. It’s broke. Permanently. And I’m okay with that.” I am past the emotional breaking point with this series. I can’t feel anything anymore.
Let’s give that some context. The Hangover was probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Everyone has that one movie that they absolutely despise, even if they know a lot of people like it. I couldn’t stand a moment of that film. It wasn’t funny, offensive, or in any way, shape or form meaningful. It didn’t even have an original plot; Dude, Where’s My Car? did it first and better. That is a film that enraged me. It made me feel something, and that something was pure anger. I know it’s melodramatic, but it’s true. There wasn’t a single thing about that film that worked for me, and I sat through it twice to make sure I wasn’t just missing it upon a first viewing. Now that I’ve seen The Hangover Part II, I feel like I’ve seen The Hangover three times, because they didn’t alter anything for this installment.
However, all of that emotion is gone from my body. I don’t even care at this point. The anger has been released, and right now I can’t muster up the energy to get heated about what’s proving to be one of the worst franchises of all time. I hoped that it was a fluke that some talented people, and Todd Phillips, teamed up to make an awful movie. I wanted to like The Hangover Part II. I got the same thing, transplanted to Thailand, that I got last time around. It’s too awful for me to care.
The plot, as you’ll remember from the first one, involves a night of excessive partying that nobody can remember, and one of the people involved in that partying turns up missing the next morning. The remaining people need to try to find him, and there’s an artificial time limit brought about by one of the characters having a wedding that is scheduled for some point in the very near future.
The characters: Phil (Bradley Cooper) is kind of the straight man; Stu (Ed Helms) is the kind of nerdy doctor; Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is the man-child; Teddy (Mason Lee) is the brother of Lauren (Jamie Cheung), Stu’s fiancée; Doug (Justin Bertha) is the guy who was missing in the last film; and Leslie (Ken Jeong) is there as a plot device and because apparently a lot of people liked his character in the first movie, although I can’t share that sentiment.
The first four of these stereotypes are the ones who go partying. Teddy is missing, because you really want to re-live the shenanigans that the other three got up to the last time around. Stu now has a Mike Tyson tattoo on his face, Alan had his head shaved, Phil doesn’t actually have anything wrong with him, and a monkey has now replaced the baby. Oh, and Leslie overdoses on cocaine in his very first scene and is thrown into an ice machine because these people are very, very stupid, and not at all sympathetic.
It’s not even that we need to like them that much. The first movie didn’t do that, and it was a great success. The real likable guy is the one who was missing. These people were the sideshow. This one tries to make us like them. After the last film, how on earth are we supposed to do that? And after we learn what goes on during the “big night” in Part II — which comes to us in bits and pieces as they go from location to location to discover what took place in unfunny skit after unfunny skit — I felt nothing.
I also didn’t laugh. I didn’t laugh during The Hangover, either, but it at least seemed to try. I could understand where the “jokes” were; I just didn’t find them humorous. I didn’t even see the effort this time around. I mean, I understand that this is a cash-grab — not changing the plot, characters or situations is your first hint with that — but a comedy can keep all of that the same and just have strong jokes and still work. But the people behind The Hangover Part II don’t even try to do that. They know the film will make money and know that any effort is pointless.
The film is raunchy, sure, but we’ve had a lot of raunchy comedies over the last few years. One could probably make the argument that the first Hangover was the one that gave a surge to the genre. Considering how much money it made, that might be a discussion worth having. This film is dirtier and more obscene, like it wants to push what is acceptable under an R rating. It’s also stupid. I guess what I’m saying is that there’s no difference between this movie and the last.
I’d be remiss to say that The Hangover Part II is worse than the original. I laughed one time in the first one, and I laughed one time in this one. It was for the same reason, and the same cameo. Perhaps it’s just that this personality — whom I won’t name for fear of spoiling — is just inherently funny to see. Regardless, if you liked the first Hangover, and just want to see it, but in Thailand, you have your movie. Now leave me to my sorrow and permit me to drink away the bad memories.