The second in what is sure to become a trilogy, breaks a cardinal rule for a comedy, it forgets to be funny.
The cast get to say “I can’t believe it’s happening again” and the audience feels the same way, the movie is a carbon copy of the first fun and mostly inventive film.
The “Wolf Pack” are back but this time they are somewhere way more dangerous than Vegas, Thailand and more specifically Bangkok. As is mentioned in the tagline “Bangkok has them now”, although most audiences will realise that Bangkok has merely replaced Las Vegas, as little else is new.
Still with over $500 million at the the box office director Tod Phillips must have got something right?
Meek dentist, Stu (Ed Helms) is marrying an Asian beauty complete with stereotypical overbearing father, meek mother and idolized talented younger brother Teddy (Lee), a nod to the younger demographic.
Of course his buddies are invited to the bash at an upmarket resort in Thailand, Phil (Cooper) and Doug (Bartha), although man child Alan’s (Galifanakis) invite is not forthcoming. Unsurprisingly left on the sidelines due to his errant behaviour in the first film, will he be left behind this time, need we even ask that question.
Everything is going swimmingly apart from the usual inappropriate behaviour by Alan, until the “one beer” before the big day, turns into another mammoth hangover wake up scene.
Substitute missing teeth for tattoo’s, tigers for a monkey, add in a severed finger, several cocaine “bumps” to clear the head, Mike Tyson and stir fry quickly. We are then treated to the stereotypical underside of Bangkok which will do nothing for the Thailand tourist industry. Seedy rooms, criminals in the form of Paul Giamatti and the predictably unpredictable Mr Chow (Cheong), not quite as out of place as some recent films he has appeared in, perhaps the milieu suits his weird character or acting traits better.
Will the “Wolf Pack” be able to re-assemble the night before in time for the nuptials to occur on time with everyone happy, if you think not, then maybe you are watching the wrong film.
The journey is the thing and this is where the film loses it’s way, with a scattershot, throw everything at the screen to see what sticks approach. Less funny, same “F & C” bomb heavy dialogue, more raunchy situations and reversing the movie trend from mostly female nudity, to a combination of both in the same body. Certainly Ed’s new bride seems more understanding than one might expect a new bride to be in that circumstance.
Galifanakis again reprises his role carried across the original “Hangover”, “Due Date” and now the sequel, seemingly popping up in every movie playing a similar part. Cooper of course has gone all “A” List since the first film and Helms is also now gainfully employed in the American version of “The Office”.
Cooper is clearly now too good to be in this tosh and his star quality does show through despite the obvious flaws of the film, Bartha is largely sidelined again and Giamatti obviously fancied a free holiday, with almost a cameo part. Tyson apparently taking singing lessons for his big scene, if this is the result post training then clearly the boxing ring was the right career choice.
Do we need another sequel, do the actors need another film to bolster their careers, of course not. With box office receipts north of half a billion dollars, this however will be a foregone conclusion.
Inversely proportional critical & enjoyment value against monetary returns, we are clearly heading in the wrong direction and this trend is unlikely to be reversed in the final installment. Clearly poor reviews nor bad word of mouth will stop the “Wolf Pack” juggernaut, big business has them now.
Curiously the closing credits on the Blu-Ray version, retains the controversial fake recreation still of a real life execution, which is odd bearing in mind the offence the picture has caused. This perhaps emphasizes the apparent contempt director Phillips has for his audience.
A lazy remake of the original and a poor facsimile. Might raise the occasional titter but largely can be avoided unless the “Wolf Pack”, the Asian version, really appeals.