I Feel Like I've Seen This Before . . .
Directed by Todd Philips and starring Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifianakis, and Ed Helms, The Hangover Part II picks up on another forgotten night of bachelorhood as a small celebration for Helms turns into an exact repeat of the "wolf pack's" time in Las Vegas. This time Helms' brother-in-law, Teddy, is the one who goes missing. With only a small clue as to Teddy's condition, and the whole city of Bangkok against them, they boys have another 24 hours to find their missing friend or ruin another wedding day.
If there's one thing that really shows in this movie it's formula. Not the kind you'd feed the famous baby from in the first film, but the kind that takes a template, replaces some nouns, and uses it as a script. The two movies are EXACTLY THE SAME. To the point where half of the dialogue consists of the characters saying "it's just like last time," or "remember when this happened before?" So much of the movie depends on having seen the first one that it's almost more of a nostalgia piece than an actual story.
Putting the characters in another country, I admit, is a good comedic idea. Another American city wouldn't have been enough of an increased sense of urgency to power a sequel. The plot seems to be moved by things that don't have too much to do with Thailand's culture or differences, and it feels like it really could have been anywhere in the world again.
The characters feel phoned-in and not as genuine as in the first movie. Galifianakis is the one who especially acts like he didn't want to be in the film, and knowing his sense of ironic humor of being in roles, it would make sense that he might have done it as an inside joke to himself. You can never really tell with him, he's always a mystery to everyone as to when he's serious or when he's kidding.
To be bluntly honest, I didn't laugh once during the movie. I didn't find any of the jokes hysterical or even chuckle-worthy. That's my personal taste in comedy, but it doesn't ignore the simple cinematic facts that support this movie as a bomb in terms of imagination and production. I've already received angry messages for voicing my opinion on the movie, and I know that America is against me when it comes to my stance. The box office alone will try and tell me that I'm wrong, but I have a feeling that I'm not the only one.
For those that want an exact repeat of the first film this is a golden winner. For those who were looking for something a little more advanced or to be challenged, not so much.