Ed Helms

Ed Helms

Aisle Seat: Time to wake up

The Hangover Part II: Two and a half stars out of 5

  • Jun. 5, 2011 9:00 a.m.

I don’t think The Hangover is a film that necessarily lends itself to a sequel, for it was such a random surprise two years ago.

I mean, a raucous grab bag of naughty giggles like that, it would be awfully tough to duplicate such a feat, right?

Correct.

Now, The Hangover Part II isn’t bad for what it is.  (And what it is, for those not aware, is a two-hour jumble of post-drunken confusion, lewd behaviour, occasional –– and briefly a little unsettling –– nudity, and outright cynicism towards, well, pretty much everything.)

And I don’t have a big problem with that – really, I don’t.  The dilemma is that Part I was so irresistibly amusing and so shockingly original that this, the follow up, is at a very unfair advantage.

The plot has mild mannered dentist, Stu (Ed Helms), planning to get married in Thailand.  Realizing what happened when an alcohol fuelled bachelor bash in Las Vegas created unspeakable disaster (honestly, if you haven’t seen the first flick, you’ve gotta rent the thing), he tries to avoid a repeat of the chaos with an IHOP brunch.

No doing. Not when his buddies, including middle school teacher Phil (Bradley Cooper), and the especially offbeat man-child, Alan (Zach Galifianakis), are itching to party.  So, after a seemingly harmless Budweiser toast around a beach bonfire, the boys somehow wake up in the morning in a ramshackle Thai hotel with booming noggins, no memory of the previous evening, a Mike Tyson-like tattoo on the groom’s face, a monkey wearing a Rolling Stones jacket, and a missing brother-of-the-bride (Mason Lee).

Like the first film, the guys have to put the puzzle pieces together in order to save the day and make it to the nuptials, but in The Hangover Part II, the exercise feels more like a wacky whodunit than a twisted comedy.

That wouldn’t be a bad thing, if only it were more interesting. Oh, there are plenty of funny moments. The hook just fails to keep you hanging on like it did so well two years ago.

Since it is frequently funny, The Hangover Part II isn’t a total wash. Yet, because it spins in familiar circles, it’s also nowhere near as good as the original. In 2009, I couldn’t stop laughing. Here, I couldn’t always stay awake. Truth be told, I had to see it twice, not because I wanted to, but because I kept nodding off the first time.

Maybe it’s just the kind of movie that goes better with a Red Bull.

The feature is currently playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Jason Armstrong is The Morning Star’s longtime film reviewer. His column, Aisle Seat, appears every Friday and Sunday.