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HANGOVER, THE: PART II: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) jet to Thailand for Stu's (Ed Helms) wedding to Lauren (Jamie Chung) at an upmarket resort. But it seems like Groundhog Day, when Phil, Alan and Ed wake up in a sleazy hotel room in Bangkok with a cheeky monkey after a few beers on the beach with Lauren's 16 year old brother Teddy (Mason Lee). Even worse is the fact that Teddy is now missing - except for a finger. And Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) manages to overdose on cocaine before he can help them.

Review by Louise Keller:
A monkey drug mule, a monk with a vow of silence, a trans-sexual or two, Russian thugs, a kidnapping and a cut off finger are some of the disparate elements of this highly anticipated sequel, which sadly is only a pale imitation of the very funny original.

This time around the film is set in Thailand and as they say in that country, it's 'same same but different'; which can also be said about the plot. What was fresh, raucous and outrageous the first time around is now tired, contrived and boring with few laughs. Same director, different screenwriters; same formula and plot points but the elements have been changed and shuffled around.

So despite a new setting, a new scenario and a few new faces, Hangover 2 is a hangover of the original - and a disappointing one at that.

Phil (Cooper), Alan (Galifianakis) and Doug (Bartha) jet to Thailand for Stu's (Helms) wedding to Lauren (Chung) at an upmarket resort. But it seems like Groundhog Day, when Phil, Alan and Ed wake up in a sleazy hotel room in Bangkok with a cheeky monkey after a few beers on the beach with Lauren's 16 year old brother Teddy (Lee). Even worse is the fact that Teddy is now missing - except for a finger. And Mr Chow (Jeong) manages to overdose on cocaine before he can help them.

Anyone who saw the first film will immediately recognise the elements, beginning with Cooper's distraught phone call ringing the bride-to-be waiting in a luxurious Thai resort, alerting her to the impending catastrophe. Then we head back in time to learn the circumstances in which the four friends find themselves stranded in Bangkok after a night of pre-wedding buddy bonding by a beach bonfire with beer and toasted marshmallows.

Stu, the dentist who got himself hitched last time to Heather Graham's Las Vegas prostitute is the groom this time and when he wakes up in a cockroach-filled dump of an apartment, he is horrified to find a prominent tattoo on his face.

There's no baby this time, but a denim-clad monkey who chatters and smokes cigarettes. Galifianakis as the foot-in-mouth odd-man out Alan has had his head shaved (while out of it) and is his obnoxious, less funny self. Phil (played by charismatic Cooper) is the one who finds a cut off finger in a bowl of water. Like the last time around, when he played the groom, Doug misses all the action.

Thank goodness for Jeong's Mr Chow, the self styled international criminal who just wants to have fun and appears naked once again to inject bawdy energy and outrageousness. The film's low point comes when a car crashes into a bloody pig hanging at a street stall, while the best line is 'I wish monkeys could Skype'. Paul Giamatti has a couple of inconsequential scenes and Mike Tyson makes another cameo appearance, although this time when he tries to sing, it's just plain embarrassing.

Along the way there are some gorgeous Thai locations (as well as some daggy ones) and the cast works exceedingly hard to make the best of a poor copycat script. None of the relationships are even remotely credible, which means we don't care whether the wedding goes ahead or not and there is nothing real about the relationship between the four guys on whose friendship everything hangs. It all ends the same way as did the original - with a string of R-rated photos describing what really happened including Thai strippers popping ping pong balls, bare-breasts, copulation and other excesses. Frankly, it's not worth the headache.

Review by Andrew L. Urban
We're not in Las Vegas anymore, but Bangkok will do nicely as a place to overindulge in an immature sort of way, with its collection of colourful characters and edgy pleasures.

The first Hangover bachelor party in Las Vegas took place prior to Doug (Bartha) getting married. Now, Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) fly to Thailand to be there for Stu's (Ed Helms) wedding to Lauren (Jamie Chung) at an upmarket resort. Lauren's wealthy father, Fohn (Nirut Sirichanya), dislikes Doug, loves his daughter and dotes on his genius 16 year old son, Teddy (Mason Lee).

Doug wasn't going to invite the crazy Alan, but his friends insisted; by the time it's too late, Doug's original decision looks smart. But then we wouldn't have had this story of a bunch of young guys once again waking up with no memory of the previous night. They way we find them in the morning, flaked out on the floor of a cockroach infested hotel with a cheeky monkey amongst them, a frequently interrupted power supply, red eyes and other signs of midnight activity, they (and we) get that sense of dread that they might find out - to their sorrow.

Their ignorance of where they are is nothing compared to the shock of discovering that the much loved Teddy (Mason Lee), who joined them for an illicit drink, is missing - except for a finger bearing his Harvard ring. And Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) manages to overdose before he can help them.

In their desperate search for Teddy, the unfortunate threesome get caught up in deadly misadventures, like the Russian thugs who want their drug carrier monkey back, and don't care who they kill or mow down on their motorbikes in the process.

And then there is Kingsley (Paul Giamatti) who has them dragged up to a 64th level rooftop restaurant to tell them he has Teddy in captivity and will swap him for Mr Chow who owes him a secret banking code. He wants it by breakfast - or they'll be dog's breakfast. Trouble for the boys is ... they don't have Mr Chow to deliver.

All the while, Stu and Phil have to contend with the antics of their impulsive, unpredictable and uncontrollable friend, Alan. Galifianakis delivers a wonderfully manic character who steals every scene he is in. Helms and Cooper play opposites under stress, with Cooper keeping his cool (more or less) and Helms losing it.

And well he might in many cases, as the screenplay sends him into comic battle with fate, in the form of transvestites, tattooists and silent monks.

Sticking to the successful template of the original, The Hangover Part II has all the same elements, some are replaced but none discarded, including a Mike Tyson cameo. The film is more vulgar, employing body parts aplenty, notably penises in some surprising revelations, as well as the aforementioned chopped finger, boobs and bums.

Where The Hangover juiced the freshest aspects and sent its characters into a self made hell on their road to rescue, Part II is not as adroit, not as seamless or as affectionate for its frail people. It feels as though the filmmakers want to cash in on the surprise success of the first, but haven't found that magic that evolved naturally.

There are guffaws of rude comedic shock and there are hair raising incidents, but it still feels like a poor sequel.

Published November 30, 2011

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HANGOVER, THE: PART II: DVD (MA15+)
(US, 2011)

CAST: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti, Mike Tyson, Jeffrey Tambourm, Mason Lee, Jamie Chung, Sasha Barresse, Gillian Vigman, Nick Cassavetes

PRODUCER: Daniel Goldberg, Todd Phillips

DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips

SCRIPT: Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong, Todd Phillips

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lawrence Sher

EDITOR: Debra Neil-Fisher, Mike Sale

MUSIC: Christophe Beck

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bill Brzeski

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 26, 2011

PRESENTATION: 16: 9

SPECIAL FEATURES: .

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: November 30, 2011







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