Film review: The Hangover part 2 from Built for Speed

The first Hangover was a surprise smash hit mixing Bachelor Party antics with the buddy dynamic of America Pie, all amped up for maximum political incorrectness.  The problem with sequels such as Hangover part 2 is that they don’t bother with developing the overall story, they just do the same film again but plonk it in a different location.

Again it’s wedding day (this time in Thailand) and the same guys: arrogant pretty boy Phil (Bradley Cooper), groom Ed Helms and hirsute menace Zach Galifianakis wake up totally wrecked in a strange place with disturbing artefacts of a debauched and hazy night before.  During the night they seem to have misplaced the bride’s teen brother and before they can escape Bangkok they have to retrace their steps to find him.

As before there’s plenty of crowd pleasing outrageousness mixed with buddy bonding sessions.  Zach Galifinakis again delivers his crazed and destructive take on reality which is funny for a while but soon runs out of legs.  For most of this film it’s juvenile sledgehammer humour but if you’re into that and you don’t mind the fact we saw virtually the same gags two years ago, the gag rate at least is pretty high.

Whereas the first film flirted amusingly with the boundaries of public taste, this one stomps on them like Godzilla.  The shift to Bangkok for example has meant lots of extremely cringe-worthy stereotypes about drugs and lady boys.  Just as embarrassing is the return of the heavily stereotyped Asian gangster Chow although admittedly he’s more central to the plot than he was in the first one. While this film does nothing for Bangkok’s reputation, it does make other parts of Thailand look great.

Any doubts you might be having about this film will be blown away and replaced with overwhelming negativity when Mike Tyson cameos as the musical talent squawking out a monstrous version of One Night in Bangkok.

There are enough talented people involved and the film has enough energy to prevent it from being a turkey but watching it there was a creeping sense of disappointment as an inspired idea succumbed to the Hollywood formula machine.

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