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The Hangover: Part Two - Movie Review by A.D.Harris

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Taken From: theadamharris.blogspot.com

'The Hangover: Part Two' stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms & Zach Galifianakis as three guys who head out of town to a city where one of their friends is getting married, only to find themselves waking up with one killer hangover and a trail of disaster that they must follow to find a missing companion before the wedding begins. Yes, had I subtly removed the ': Part Two' from the opening paragraph the sentence would have still been a correct one and that is the simple truth about 2011's answer to the 2009's sleeper smash hit...

It's virtually the same!
Switch Vegas for Bangkok, a baby for a monkey and a tooth for a tattoo and you have the groundwork for a sequel so similar it could almost be a remake. If all truth be told I've seen many remakes which have broadened and gone further from original plotlines than 'The Hangover: Part Two' has done. The simple fact of the matter is that we all knew this was going to be the case when the first trailer hit a few months ago...
And what ': Part Two' also shows everybody is that sometimes the less risks you take, the more wise the man is who takes them. Heck, Nicholas Cage's 'The Wicker Man' should tell everyone that sometimes straying away from an original does not a wise move make.

So we all know the plot, and I assure you that if there was a big laugh to be had in the original, a reworked version of it will be in ': Part Two;' sometimes not working and the joke falls flat, but sometimes absolutely nailing it and at these times is even funnier second time round. And that's the key to ':Part Two's' success in that it has you laughing for pretty much the entire running time. What more could I possibly have asked for from a comedy sequel to a film that I absolutely loved.
A good way to view the sequel is that it is a fresh way to watch the original storyline; surely everyone would rather be watching something slightly different than getting out their DVD's and re-watching the first?

The leading three are, as was always going to be the case, the brightest part of it all. Bradley Cooper is fast emerging as the top property in most genres you could imagine. Think 'A-Team,' then think 'Limitless,' then think 'The Hangover' and you have three totally different genres and styles of film-making all neatly tied together by top performances in action, drama and comedy by one of the best looking actors in Hollywood. This guy is going places and he fires out his cool brilliance as Phil; once again the calming influence in amongst the craziness of his two co-stars.

Ed Helms is perhaps my favourite comic actor at the moment. His work on 'The Office' will always be my favourite of his performances, but Stu is a great example of how Helms can draw emotion, sarcasm and sheer lunacy into one character and for it to work perfectly. The musical talents he showed in the original do not quite hit the same high points in ':Part Two' but in terms of outrageous, big & manic craziness, Stu is a work of comic brilliance and is perhaps the star of the show.

Of course, many will disagree with such a statement and claim that good ol' Alan is the man of the movie. Zach Galifianakis has become the must have property over the last year or two because of the icon he has created. Child-like, immature and completely oblivious to the world around him, Alan is hilarious without meaning to be and hilarious with consistent regularity. Most of the jokes are aimed at the bearded one and he fires them off with total ease. Shaved head-ed and in awe of his friends Alan also finds some of the more touching moments of the movie; his goodbye to
the monkey outside the vets and his breaking down in tears at Phil's threats both times you feel your eyes getting a little heavier.

The unfortunate thing is that the strengths of the leading three highlight the weaknesses that the other characters possess. Ken Jeong's Leslie Cho is given a meaty storyline, but it is clear very early on that once your initial shock has passed he is a paper thin stereotype, annoying and grating your patience any moment he has centre stage. Also Doug is made into a bystander for the second film running and perhaps he was the missing ingredient that the writers should have used more in the sequel; adding a fourth member to the wolf-pack could have been the fresh angle they were looking for.
As for everyone else, no-one stands out like Heather Graham's Jade did as a character there for anything more than a couple of laughs. Jade was a truly important part of Stu's role in the first movie, and there were a large absence felt in the lack of a strong relationship between the guys and their girls. After-all, these movies are dealing with men being childish are realising that their ordinary lives are all they need.

Worth mentioning is that the increased budget shows; Bangkok is truly brought to life through every scene, doing to Thailand what 'In Bruges' did to Belgium. A brilliant car-chase through the market streets showed how much bigger ': Part Two' is in terms of scale and it was moments like this that it shone through brighter than the original.

There is no denying that the movie definitely delves into darker places than before, some moments pushing the boundaries of it's 15 certificate to the limits. However with a laugh never far away, through the gritty grime and the shocking plot twists emerges a comedy that never lets the dark stop the fun shining through...

So for all the ladyboys, monks, tattoos, fingers, car-chases and smoking monkeys, there emerges what made 'The Hangover' such a big success; a very funny movie about a group of friends who do all care for each other and take some risks to reverse the damage they caused...
Sometimes lightning does strike twice, and when it's this funny it's a good thing rather than a bad one...

7.5/10

Adam

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