Monday, June 20, 2011

It happened again: Hangover 2 more a remake than a sequel

Movie sequels often pale in comparison to their original counterparts. Few ever offer the same degree of originality, laughter, suspense, or entertainment value as the first films do. Many sequels often come across as trying too hard to capture the original magic, and the impetus for making a sequel can become glaringly transparent as an effort to cash in on the previous success.

The Hangover 2 fits this bill. The first Hangover was chock full of originality, comedic surprise, great characters with great chemistry, and raucous laughs. Watching Phil, Alan and Stu wake up in a trashed hotel room in Las Vegas without a clue about what transpired the night before, and their perfectly executed sense of befuddlement as they try to figure it out, is pure movie magic.

The Hangover 2 plays out the exact same way except that this time, Phil, Alan and Stu wake up in a trashed hotel room in Bangkok without a clue about what happened, and their perfectly executed sense of déjà vu is probably akin to that of moviegoers who recognize the movie because they’ve seen it before. The sequel follows the same formula and suffers because it lacks the element of surprise and unpredictability that made the first film so enjoyable.

What the writers did in the Hangover 2 is recycle the plot of the first film. They changed the locale, introduced a few new secondary characters, and made it raunchier and more over the top, but it’s still all too familiar. And they gave us more Mr. Chow – not, in my opinion, a good thing. His appearance in the first film served to shock and amuse when he leapt out of the back of a car buck naked and onto Phil. In the sequel, his appearance is again meant to shock and amuse, but after the initial shock and brief laugh his appearance affords, Mr. Chow simply becomes annoying.

Almost every element from the first Hangover is refurbished and reused in the second installment. There’s no lion, no baby, and no tasering by police, but there are obvious substitutions for these. In the sequel, the writers simply provide variations on the first film’s most memorable parts.

Perhaps the most disappointing of all is how Zach Galifianakis’ character, Alan, comes across in the second film. In the Hangover, Alan stole the show as the endearing and hilarious oddball brother-in-law. Here, he’s obnoxious, irritating and far less funny.

The common element that is a welcome reoccurrence is the interaction between Phil, Alan and Stu. Seeing these three guys bumble through Bangkok piecing the previous night’s puzzle back together and uncovering some crazy revelations along the way is the lone highlight and why a third installment is more than likely. It’s hard not to want to see what these guys will get up to next time and how they’ll react to it all because it is good for a few laughs.



4 comments:

  1. I didn't laugh as much as I did with the first one because nothing felt like a surprise when it happened...again, and the whole script just feels lazy, with jokes we have either heard before or that just don't hit the mark. Good Review!

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  2. Dan O - glad you enjoyed the review. Agreed - everything about the sequel was familiar and the funny bits were fewer and far between.

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  3. Very good review - I had the same thoughts.

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  4. Thanks, Duke, glad you liked the review.

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