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Hair of the Dog: The Hangover Part II’s Sloppy Seconds

The Hangover Part II is so desperate to bring back the wild times of its 2009 predecessor that it winds up being kind of sad — like watching a washed-up athlete who doesn’t realize the magic is gone.

by
John Boot

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May 26, 2011 - 12:03 am
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Pretty soon there will be folk remedies for alleviating the nausea induced by The Hangover Part II, but just as the characters wish they’d never cracked open that first beer you’ll be better off staying home and avoiding this mess in the first place.

This sequel, or rather reiteration, starts to go wrong with its title. It’s supposed to be like The Godfather, Part II. Get it? No? Why? Do you think jokes should be funny or something?

Like the first movie, this one starts out (this time in Bangkok) with the principals dejected and having lost track of a friend somewhere out there in Partytown. As in the first movie, they spend a lot of time with a wild animal (a monkey instead of a tiger). Alan, the Zach Galifianakis character, again drugs his supposed friends. The mild-mannered dentist Stu (Ed Helms) again hooks up with a prostitute and is again disfigured (this time with a facial tattoo instead of by losing a tooth). There is a rooftop scene, a confrontation with the wacky Chinese guy Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), a cameo by Mike Tyson, and a mystery solved in the lamest possible way (by the fellas looking right back where they started). “I can’t believe this is happening again,” says Stu. Neither can those of us who are watching. The effect is exactly that of being at a dinner party where someone cracks a joke, it gets a big laugh, and then someone else does the exact same gag to a reaction of utter silence.

The story, which sounds like a couple of screenwriters wrote it on cocktail napkins between innings at a sports bar, involves this time the impending wedding of dentist Stu, who is marrying a Thai-American girl who insists on having the nuptials in her parents’ homeland, at a beautiful island resort. Her little brother Teddy (Mason Lee), a 16-year-old student, goes out on the beach for a drink with Stu, Alan, and Phil (Bradley Cooper), and the next thing we know the three principal characters are waking up with a hangover in a dumpy hotel room in the seedy metropolis of Bangkok, far from the resort. Teddy has gone missing, but not all of him: his severed finger is being licked by a monkey in the hotel room.

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