Bangkok for Vegas, missing person to enliven the forgettable fashion of what we laughed at like the last time when the material was fresher and the feeling gave you something skewed, not skewered. Hangover 2 celebrates the exact malaise of every other sequel to a one-hit wonder, trick show-pony funny that goes to places it shouldn’t but you’re glad it did the first time – fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on the ticket price. If you could get your money back I’d ask, if I could Eternal-Sunshine-of-a-spotless-mind-‘it’ I’d do it so I could forget it. Can I get my 102 minutes back?
The gangs all here, Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifanakis), and Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong). There’s room for a last-minute cameo by Mike Tyson as well as a handful of others aiming for familiar, going down quiet on tired. It’s not really surprising when Paul Giamatti shows up for a one-off type caricature of a crime boss, he’s not a killer he’s an eater – or Nick Cassavettes as a tattoo artist. These are niceties but not necessaries. This film is to the Long Endless Summer what Russell Brand is to alcoholics everywhere and average moviegoers nowhere – it’s just plain stockpot plot points: boys feign interest in one another and their lives, boys are thrown together for a bachelor party against all sense and human decency, and what occurs for far too long in all the wrong order and effectiveness, is your chance to disappear in your own cream of wheat wondering how you got this far down on your movies-to-see list. Thankfully you can move on to something else, like watching people tearing houses and stuff down with their hands and feet until the next Batman release or Wet Hot American Summer.
When the film opens some time has gone by, evident in the emphasis on career and family, goals and obstacles. Everything hinges on Stu’s marriage, tediously at first as the do’s and don’ts are applied to the guest list, the tired father-in-law hates me schtick between Stu and his future brides family, Alan’s idiocy already wearing thin on awkward adolescence, and the mysteries of mysteries you’re never quite interested in. All the pieces to the puzzle are arranged, placed and we know basically what we’re looking at. If you’re a little lost you need only revisit the first film – the plot is essentially the same. Once the special day is ready set, the evening comes to a ruin when the guys get together for a few drinks to unwind before the big day tomorrow. Of course we know the only thing we can count on to go forward is a crazy night of excess and misremembered, the painful search for clues on what happened and what they need to do to stay alive and get healthy. Not all is negative and a handsome budget goes a long way in ensuring the film looks and sounds great, the action sequences are enticing and over-the-plot – and then when you need it the most it plods to a screeching halt. Just when you think the vulgar humor has one-upped itself, the better-best-greatest is one step away, the subplots coming slamming into one another and you’re just glad when it ends.
Hangover 2 is clearly a fans movie and one that serve them well. The changes between the films are so infinitesimal as to suggest not so much a sequel but a continuation of the first absent the newness and surprises, without the clever humor that went a long way in moving the first film along; the ultimate failure of a film like this is nearly the same every time – lack of interest in the film as a film instead of a cash register machine.
To Blu-ray or not To Blu-ray:
The Combo-Pack offering of this Blu-ray is perhaps the greatest thing it has going for it, for fans and maybe if you’re still looking for a reason to like it. Warner Bros. has lovingly assembled the materials on two discs, a standard DVD and BD disc, an Ultraviolet Digital Download insert and the whole thing is wrapped in a dust jacket. It’s another peculiar choice for Blu-ray or not, hardly recalling whether or no this film warrants the treatment, finally arriving at sure, why not. There are some big screen action stuff here and there, wild car chases and foot chases that would all do well with polish. I suppose at the end of the day it can’t hurt.
Warner Home Video, a division of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc., invited me to join their exclusive Blu-ray Elite Movie Review Program and they sent me a complimentary copy of this movie for the purpose of review with special attention on the “Blu-ray Experience”. I received this video for free, but that does not sway this review or the reviews of other films that will follow.