Beat for beat it’s essentially the same movie as THE HANGOVER (which itself loses some laughs with each subsequent viewing). Instead of a missing tooth, Stu has a face tattoo. Instead of a tiger, there’s a monkey. Instead of a baby there’s an old mute man in a wheelchair. (They even do a similar weenus joke.) Gone is the missing groom, only to be replaced by a missing brother-in-law of the groom! The gang gets tangled up with gangsters again, there’s the same fake-out hostage exchange, Stu sings a song about how f*cked they are and Mr. Chow even somehow comes back. (As does his micropenis.) Even the central mystery is pretty much the same as the first. I suspect even the least discerning viewer can probably guess where Teddy is pretty early on.
A lot of movies successfully use the same formula or similar stories with familiar characters, but HANGOVER PART II does it at the expense of the big laughs and surprises of the first. (When I saw it in the theater, aside from a couple gross out gags, the audience was surprisingly quiet.) The only real difference between the two films is how dark PART II gets. I give it props for trying to take things to the next level, but you have to know your limits and the audience’s limits. Bangkok is a great choice for the seedy, dangerous comedy they’re going for, but it’s too over the top and not balanced well with any sense of relief from the terrible stuff. Between all the gay sex, the mutilation and death, it just stops being fun.
The Wolf Pack themselves are also less likable now. In the first movie, they were normal average guys who have a bad night. Could happen to anybody. This time out though, you feel less sorry for them. They destroy lives everywhere they go and everything is completely their own fault. Ed Helm’s whole bit about having a demon in him is poorly thought out and no excuse. Bradley Cooper is pretty much a non-entity this time around. And the fact that Zach Galifianakis was the one who caused all of this again, yet is completely forgiven, is ridiculous beyond reproach. And poor Justin Bartha. His character isn’t trapped on a roof this time around but they still refuse to let him do anything, relegating him to the occasional phone call. They even give Teddy, Stu’s new brother-in-law, a bigger role.
There are still a few decent laughs and some good lines, but overall HANGOVER PART II is a pale retread of its former self. Not to mention the end leaves you on a completely sour note. After all they’ve been through, the Wolf Pack crashes a speedboat in to the beautiful wedding. Ed Helms makes a romantic speech about semen and demons as he finally stands up to his disapproving father-in-law…then proceeds with the wedding. I’m sorry you can’t have a comedy where your main character gets BFed by a Thai tranny stripper and then throw in a cutesy, happy ending where he gets married to the love of his life a few hours later. That just rings completely false. (Not to mention the brother, who’s spent his life preparing to be a surgeon, reacts to losing his finger with, “Well, that’s Bangkok for you!”)
Behind the Story (12:44): Three featurettes look at the comedy style of Todd Phillips (with lots of behind the scenes footage and adlibbing), the monkey star of the movie (and Bradley cooper’s disturbing bond with it) and a tour of Bangkok with Mr. Chow. Ken Jeong does it all in character and proves that a little Chow goes a long way.
Gag Reel (4:53): If this is the best outtakes they have, it must’ve been a pretty boring set. I barely cracked a smile.
Action Mashup (0:46): A very brief montage of people getting hit, falling down and other action beats. Not sure why this exists.
The Blu-Ray set also comes with a DVD and Digital Copy.
Extra Tidbit: I still wish Mel Gibson and Bill Clinton had actually ended up in the movie as rumored.