- Running time:
- 102 minutes
- Bradley Cooper -
- Ed Helms -
- Zach Galifianakis -
- Justin Bartha -
- Ken Jeong -
- Mr. Chow
Two years after piecing together the forgotten fragments of the craziest night of their lives, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) are off to Thailand for Stu’s wedding to Lauren (Jamie Chung). Determined to keep things under control, Stu refuses a bachelor party. But before they know it, Phil, Stu and Alan wake up in a rundown Bangkok hotel, with no memory of the night before and no idea where Lauren’s 16-year-old brother Teddy (Mason Lee) has disappeared to.
The buzz: A massive hit driven by enthusiastic audience word of mouth, “The Hangover” raked in $277 million at the U.S. box office—a record for a R-rated comedy—and won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical. Anticipating the breakout success, Warner Bros. already had sequel deals with the stars and director Todd Phillips. Everyone involved tried to keep details of the follow-up as secretive as possible, but the film’s Bangkok location leaked out and a minor controversy popped up when Mel Gibson was rumored for and then dropped from a cameo role.
The verdict: It’s amazing how fast a fresh comedy idea can go stale. But that’s the danger of recreating a story where the element of surprise played a crucial role in its creative and commercial success. “Recreating” is a generous term for the complete lack of imagination and originality in “Hangover II,” which opens with Phil’s phone call to a concerned wedding party and closes with lurid phone cam snapshots over the credits. The filmmakers stick so close to the original’s playbook, you’ll wonder why you didn’t just stay home and watch the first movie on DVD instead of paying money to sit through a limp retread. Even without anything to expand on, or simply match, the first film’s highlights, there are enough stray laughs—especially in the solid opening stretch pre-hangover—and residual offbeat chemistry between Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis to keep the sequel out of disaster territory. It’s also a notably great looking Hollywood comedy—while Bangkok’s seedy underbelly gets milked for darkly outrageous humor, the movie compensates with lovingly shot landscapes right out of a tourist board’s dream—but if the best thing your comedy has going for it is the cinematography, you’re in trouble. “The Hangover” exemplified the way audiences will rally to recommend a comedy too unique to miss. “The Hangover II” should prove they’re just as eager to spread the word about a sequel too familiar to care about.
Did you know? Instead of the first film’s scene-stealing baby, the guys find themselves caring for a capuchin monkey, Crystal, who has a history with leading man Cooper. They both appeared in 2006’s Matthew McConaughey/Sarah Jessica Parker romantic comedy “Failure to Launch.”
Movie theaters and showtimes for The Hangover Part II in Reno.
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