In 2009, “The Hangover” became a record-breaking hit, surpassing all box office expectations even receiving a Golden Globe for Best Comedy.
Fast forward to two years later and the laughs are not quite as plentiful in the sequel.
Las Vegas is swapped for Bangkok, once again they’ve lost someone in their party, and the animal they encounter during their wild antics this time is a charismatic monkey called Crystal.
“The movie unfolds two years after the incidents in Las Vegas and we catch up with the guys to find that everybody’s life has progressed,” shares director Todd Phillips, who also directed and co-wrote the first offering. “Alan is still living at home with his parents. Doug and Tracy are happily married and expecting; Phil has had another kid and Stu is engaged to be married.”
For the second adventures of Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu, (Ed Helms), Doug (Justin Bartha) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), the starting point from Phillips’ perspective was finding a city that would be a catastrophically bad idea for the guys and the one place that really fitted the bill was Bangkok.
“I think comedy is always best when it feels a little bit dangerous, like it can go into unexpected places,” says Phillips. “Once we decided on Bangkok, that pretty much defined the movie. It just sounds like trouble, especially for our guys.”
This time, Stu is getting hitched to Lauren (Jamie Chung), whose parents hail from Thailand. With the memory of Doug’s nearly disastrous bachelor party in Las Vegas still vivid in his mind, he’s taking no chances and has opted for what he calls a ‘Bachelor Brunch’ pancakes, coffee and no alcohol. Two nights before the big day, at a resort in Thailand, he’s persuaded by Phil and Alan to go to a bar in the city for just one beer. The next morning, they wake up in a strange motel room in the city of Bangkok. Stu has a mysterious tattoo on the side of his face, Alan’s head has been shaved, Lauren’s little brother Teddy (Mason Lee) who accompanied the duo is missing and there’s a strange monkey in the room.
“We knew we had to adhere to certain tenets of the movie,” says Cooper, who reprises the role of Phil, the de facto leader of the group. “We wanted aspects we loved from the first film to be in this one, but in a fresh, totally new context. Todd’s idea to set it in Bangkok upped the ante completely. We had a huge car chase, motorcycles, riots, shootings so there’s a lot of action in this movie.”
As they traipse through the city looking for Teddy, the guys encounter some surprising personalities, including grizzled ex-pats, Russian drug dealers, mob figures, and even a Buddhist monk.
The main cast also includes Ken Jeong, Mike Tyson and Jeffrey Tambor, who both return from the first film and Oscar® nominee Paul Giamatti, who joins the ensemble.
Far raunchier that the first, “The Hangover Part II” is entertaining enough and has a few laughs, but it just doesn’t beat its predecessor.