Yet, two years later here we are with this second ‘part’; less a continuation and more a reimagining of it’s predecessor that nonchalantly copies its content and plot devices verbatim from the original. The Hangover Part II is then a sluggish, pointless and overly vulgar shot for shot copy of its far superior forebearer, though it is neither as clever or as tactful.
Whereas the first was merely mean-spirited, the sequel is simply distasteful; the once likeable characters now vulgar shadows of their former selves. Even Bradley Cooper – whose apparent charm and adoration as a watchable leading man escapes me – is thoroughly unlikeable while Ed Helms, playing the affable dentist Stu, shrieks and winces his way through almost each and every scene – it becomes grating all too quickly.
Zach Galifianakis, once hilariously eccentric, replays the same character he’s become typecast with since the original, pedaling the same old wacky shtick he has now become so synonymous with and flogging lowest-common-denominator gags that miss more often than they hit. He plays the mentally challenged Alan in pretty much the same way he did first time round, only with more of a sinister edge, which leaves his affection for a drug smuggling, cigarette-toting monkey the only evidence of him being an actual human being; he raises one or two minimal smirks in the process, but that’s as far as it goes.
Justin Bartha, the previous husband-to-be and vanished member of the ‘wolfpack’, again plays second fiddle to the three protagonists, missing out on the quest to find the latest misplaced victim of the group, Teddy (the teenage brother of Stu’s fiancee). Also resurfacing is Ken Jeong, a revelation in the first film as the effeminate gangster Mr. Chow, now brought back to the fold merely for penis sight gags and annoyingly lewd absurdities, annoying and vastly overused this time round. Paul Giamatti even crops up in a small role as an ill-tempered businessman, stealing the entire film right from under the lead’s noses.
In the sequel, we catch Phillips attemping to re-hash his miniscule masterpiece with evening greater transparency, but it simply hasn’t worked. Painstakingly giving almost every element from the first a dirtier equivalent, The Hangover Part 2 is as unnecessary in content as it is in its existence, an experience not to be entered into lightly.