The Hangover was without a doubt a huge success, finding itself awarded the accolade of being the highest-grossing R rated comedy ever. Ignoring its perhaps questionable depiction of women – actually using the stereotypes of the whore, the angel and the monster – much of the film’s success rested on the relationship between the male protagonists, which whilst certainly bawdy and often obscene, was still at its heart a touching depiction of true friendship.
The writers of The Hangover Part II, clearly deciding to rely on a proven formula, essentially simply relocate the events of the first film to Thailand. Taking the traits of the male characters and enhancing them, unfortunately, ensures that those fairly likeable characters of the original begin to border on cruel, irritating and heartless.
Stu, determined to avoid the debacle of a bachelor party, chooses a ‘bachelor brunch’, rather than indulging in an alcohol-fuelled night of debauchery. Stu, declining to invite Alan, is persuaded to include the hapless, chronically immature, so-called friend on the pleas of his true friends. Two days before his wedding, the group, including his bride’s younger brother Teddy – who Alan has taken an immediate dislike to – toast the couple’s happiness.
Of course, the inevitable happens, and Alan, Phil and Stu wake in a dingy apartment, having no recollection of the night’s events, nor any idea of their location. The events that follow entirely mimic the events of the preceding film, displaying either a laziness, an arrogance or a sheer lack of imagination on the part of the writers – notably, and perhaps tellingly, a set of writers not responsible for the first film.
The first film carefully ensured that despite its moments of obscenity, its humour was never mean-spirited, not malicious. The Hangover Part II is a far crueler affair than its light-hearted original: characters, previously likeable, display moments of real callousness. If the lack of any originality wasn’t enough, the film is poorly paced, and at times, rather dull.