Well, to be fair to it, it’s not very often that a sequel can genuinely claim to better than the original. In fact, in the history of cinema, it’s arguably only The Godfather Part IIthat has ever actually managed it. Thisis a long way from The Godfather. We’re basically talking about something more on a level with Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquelor Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps. (see also this authoritative list)
Now, at this stage I would traditionally tend to run you through a brief outline of the plot – just to set the scene a bit. However, that won’t be necessary if you’ve seen the first film as it is exactly; and I really do mean exactly;the same. Almost every scene, from Bradley Cooper’s phone-call to the worried fiancée at the start to the montage of outrageous photos at the end, is a meticulous replication of Hangover 1. So closely related are the two films, in fact, that I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the screenwriters hadn’t just reopened their original Microsoft Word file and gone through it changing some of the nouns.
Except actually, no, that’s not possible as the original writers, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, have been ditched in favour of two new guys who, a quick imdb check reveals, were responsible for such comedy gems as The Heartbreak Kid, Starsky and Hutchand Scary Movie 4. Y’ouch.
there’s a bit about halfway through where a fully nude Thai ladyboy waggles her penis at the camera and shouts “there’s a reason they don’t call it Bang-cunt yeah?”
It’s all a bit depressing isn’t it? Yet more evidence that in Hollywood no one really gives a shit about writers. Those pale, speccy weirdos who sit in the corner scribbling into their sweaty little notepads are roughly on the same level in the moviemaking pecking order as catering staff and the guy who trims Steven Spielberg’s nose hair. When actually, of course, they hold in their hands all of the power to determine whether a film is shit or not. The first Hangover – notwithstanding its talented cast, bold direction and glamorous location – was a brilliant and hilarious film solely because it had a great script with well-written jokes. Part 2 doesn’t and so isn’t.
Clearly, the producers must have realised their movie wasn’t shaping up to be that good and so have resorted to the most extreme of extreme measures – in many ways the last refuge of the comedy scoundrel – they’ve put a ‘funny monkey’ in it… Yep, where last time the gang woke up to find themselves sharing a hotel suite with Mike Tyson’s tiger, this time around that role is taken by a lovable little primate in a denim jacket. In just one film this franchise has gone from critically acclaimed box-office smash to something that belongs in the same category as Dunston Checks In. Admittedly, as comedy monkeys go, this one is fairly impressive. As a general rule, people like to see a monkey doing as much people-like stuff as possible; drinking cups of tea, playing poker, pinching girls’ bums, that kind of thing. The Hangover monkey more than exceeds expectations on this front - it can read newspapers, smoke cigarettes and, somewhat controversially, deal drugs! (It’s a bit like watching Monkey The Wire.. There’s even a Monkey Re-up!)
Oh yeah and, inevitably, at one point it pretends to do a blowjob. “When a monkey nibbles on a penis, it’s funny in any language” observes Zach Galifianakis with a barely perceptible look of anguish in his eye. That’s the other thing about this film; it has a LOT of dick in it. If there’s one thing people like more than a comedy monkey, it turns out, it’s a fleeting glimpse of a human penis. Especially if that penis is either a) hilariously small or b) belonging to a woman. I don’t know, depends what you’re into I suppose. There was a middle-aged man in a suit sitting next to me in the cinema (I have a feeling he might write for the FT!) who absolutely loved it and was shrieking like a bawdy secretary on a hen-night at each new reference to genitalia.
It’s all fine I suppose, but does just feel a bit cheap and disappointing – especially in comparison to what came before. Put it this way, there’s a bit about halfway through where a fully nude Thai ladyboy waggles her penis at the camera and shouts “there’s a reason they don’t call it Bang-cunt yeah?” That should tell you everything you need to know..
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