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Thursday, February 2, 2012
Movie Review: The Hangover Part II (2011)
Sometimes when I forget something I know I should be remembering, I retrace my exact steps and try to think about what I was thinking about as I passed each visual landmark. (Example: At the chair I was thinking about Y and before that when I was passing the closet I was considering X.)
That's the closet thing I can compare to The Hangover Part II.
The 2011 sequel to the 2009 original, is exactly the same movie in a different location. And when I say it's the same movie, I mean it's the same movie. The same things happen in exactly the same order with exactly the same visuals. It's like Todd Phillips was going about his business, making movies like Road Trip and Old School, and just accidentally walked face-first into the giant cobweb of the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time. And when it came time to either move the story forward or make a carbon copy of the first, he chose the second option.
And then, you know what?
The Hangover Part II is now the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time.
Maybe the only other phenomenon I could compare it to would be Evil Dead and Evil Dead II or else El Mariachi and Desperado. Those are two other examples of directors (Sam Raimi and Robert Rodriguez, respectively) remaking a movie they had already made before they had any kind of budget. And I guess that corresponds here because the budget for the second Hangover film was more than double what the first was (if Wikipedia is to be believed.) Still, it was in the tens and tens of millions each time, which Evil Dead and El Mariachi were in the thousands to start with.
The musical cues are representative of everything else about this movie. In both movies the opening credits show their respective settings while a Danzig song is piped in. In The Hangover, Kanye West's "Can't Tell Me Nothing" plays as the gang makes their way to Las Vegas. In The Hangover Part II, West's single "Stronger" is showered over the scene where the Wolf Pack are headed to Thailand. The end credits (featuring the visual evidence of the forgotten night) cycle through under the warm embrace of a different Flo Rida song. Sadly, one musical feature that didn't make it back was the uproarious wedding band of the first movie (and Old School): the Dan Band.
I wouldn't call The Hangover Part II a great movie, but I wouldn't call it a bad movie either. I mean, I really liked the first one a lot. I probably saw it more times in theaters than any movie since Kill Bill. And that was in 2003. It's so similar without being at all original that it's hard to judge it on it's own merits. I obviously had an affinity for the first, why wouldn't the second be at least somewhat enjoyable?
Like retracing your steps, there is nothing natural about the movements of this secondary run. But if you remember the thing you set out to recall, then it was worth it. Right?