The syncopation of sublime slow camera moves through the world of the Hangover 2’s characters sliced into wild scenarios of action, clashing dialogue and constant reveals is engulfing and makes this a summer smash film to watch every summer. The pacing is perfect, the actors right on target with every nuance. It feels like you are watching their lives unfold right in front of you. A round of applause for Todd’s Philips once more taking a genre it seems like he invented and raising the bar in style and execution.
Yes it thankfully did. Much to Stu’s horror and disbelief.
Return once more to the wild and relunctant Wolf pack, though denied emphatically by Stu (Ed Helms), “There is no Wolf pack” It’s obvious Stu is trying to outrun his memories and uses Alan (Zach Galifianakis) as the excuse for his own hidden mental issues tearing through his blueprint for his life. Though of course Alan is to blame for his previous dastardly manipulations and provoking calamity by drugging the crew in Hangover 1.
Still Stu is ready for more punishment when he dares to tempt fate and walk the aisle with a rare Asian beauty (Jaime Chung) whose militant father has nothing but the worst contempt for him, comparing him to milken soggy rice fed to old people. The eagle eyed father sees into Stu and knows he is weak because Stu refuses to own up to his issues and the father see this as weakness.
But Stu realizes the potential for disaster is hanging over all their heads and emphatically demands an ihop ONLY bachelor party. Not a stripper in sight and only good clean OJ on the table. Blue eyes gleam behind the aviators of babysitting, outraged Phil (Bradly Cooper) as he swears like a drunken sailor on a pancake syrup sugar rush that Stu is a selfish bitch for not letting his friends celebrate his wedding properly.
Cooper plays Phil much harder and it’s a welcome addition to the character, adding to the Packs mental assembly. Phil’s aggression shows up even when leaving Stu’s dental office. Phil defiantly tries to hid a prescription pad in his groin, only to be held back by Stu’s constant control and wary eye.
But when it comes to the Thailand celebration Phils demands are given in to although diluted to one beer on the beach, carefully handled with sealed beers with all eyes on the untrustworthy Alan.
Doug’s (Justin Bartha) wife convinces her pushover third wheeler husband to get Alan invited to the Thailand ceremony because she feels so sorry for him. He’s the guy that calls and hangups while posting photos of the Wolf Packs last episode all over his disheveled room in his parents house, like a serial killer that can never forget the taste of blood.
Alan is despondent and heart broken about not being invited along and when the men arrive at his parents home to invite him to Thailand despite Stu’s fears and near hatred of Alan’s uncontrollable, erratic actions, Alan doesn’t fail to surprise them all. By suddenly stabbing himself in the thigh with a syringe to immunize himself for the trip.
It’s moments like this constantly threading the scenes that create a lively and thoroughly enjoyable comedy. Though this is more than merely a comedy it’s a wonderfully mixed bag of crime drama, thriller, and detective story ridden through the vast views of Bangkok.
Bangkok has them now. Bangkok is a living breathing character in this movie, more so than the hot vacant tourist filled Las Vegas was in the first Hangover. You really get the flavor of Bangkok sitting on your tongue and that itself is a taste to enjoy.
On the beach clinking beers and eating marshmallows, what can go wrong?
Johnny Cash‘s gravel truth filled voice rides us into the crash site of the Wolf Pack Bangkok slum hotel room. It’s a near blissful moment of respecting the beast before the riot when it awakens.
No one wakes up from a lunatic night of debauchery and a hangover like Bradley Cooper, it’s a trademarked ability. Disheveled, grasping at a moving room and still in command of the camera, Cooper controls the audience and begins a tour of what’s to come.
Alan lumps out of a twin army bunk top shelf onto the floor head shaven, Stu found in the tub, curled up in Y briefs turns and reveals a replica tattoo of the ex-heavy weight champ Mike Tyson on his face. The reveals are fun, intriguing and you immediately question how the hell did that happen?
Which is the strength of the films device. It causes you to question events and remain entrenched for the answers.
Teddy is gone, no he isn’t on the roof, but his finger is sitting in a bowl of melted ice. The prodigy son of Stu’s father in law is missing and has lost his finger still boldly wearing his school ring. Suddenly a hyper intelligent monkey appears wielding a packet of smokes and a blue jean vest. Something like the Mick Jagger of the animal kingdom as wild and styled as Bangkok.
Now most say this is an obvious plot retread from the previous Hangover installment, and perhaps in some ways it is, but I would say it isn’t! The characters are tighter, the scenes are funnier and the plot device is still fresh. Everything has been ramped up, pushed harder, and farther into new territory. Don’t most peoples lives follow redundant paths and this story is the continuation of Stu’s revelation of his inner demon and how he turns into a freak when drunk, drugged and let loose in a foreign town where he is free to express himself. I see Hangover 2 as a totally natural expression from the first feature. Ever see a black out drunk try to punch themselves out, I have and it’s a frightening and bizarre situation but it really happens, over and over.
There are some scenes that may be a bit hard to endure for the graphic nature of it, but I find Hangover 2 rather inoffensive and I am not certain exactly why. Perhaps it’s because the sometimes racy humor is so rooted in character and not merely for gratuitously being offensive. Yet another credit to the writing of this script and the abilities of all involved.
You really get the feeling that a lot of improvisation was rolled on during filming and the flow is extremely succinct and natural with a sharp pace.
When Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) is discovered naked under sheets because of his extruding small appendage. The raucous gangster begins to offers all the answers of their party night after a stream of slang made engaging and funny by Jeong’s unique Asian accent and style.
But first a little bump (Chow has a love of cocaine) to straighten out his head which immediately brings Chow’s crown smashing onto the glass tabletop dead, and with him all the answers die.
“Feet first, I have done this before” Alan brags as they shovel Chow’s body into the oblivion of an ancient ice maker in a rancid Bangkok hotel, and lock the doors.
Desperate to find Teddy before they must return to Stu’s wedding the Wolf Pack set out on a unique tour of Bangkok’s surprises and shocks. They don’t call it BangKOK for nothing, sweetheart.
The only stale moment rears when the trio wheeling a monk sworn to silence into a monastery are greeted with the usual bamboo sticks to the head for speaking during a meditation. Though it’s a scene often played out, Bradley raises the bar in reaction and character with poignant strikes of great timing and true to life reactions.
But the scene also evolves into a revelation of Alan’s childlike inner thoughts and his enduring desire for friendship as he imagines them all to be children jumping innocently through their lives while creating chaos, through the night.
The stakes escalate as the Wolf Pack discover more of their twisted antics and the repercussions begin to take their toll until the though of returning to their normal lives for Stu becomes almost unpalatable. Stu begins to question who and what he is, thinking a small Bangkok dentist practice may be the best for him and his beautiful brides safety.
Once more Stu’s sexual desires for hookers is discovered at a Bangkok nightclub burned down by the Wolfpack as revealed by vital, and incriminating video captured by the American tattoo artist who gave Stu his heavyweight facial ink. Only this hooker has some extras that makes Stu’s previous Vegas tryst look banal.
The compassionate he-she gives a graphic blow by blow of their lovemaking to Stu and the crescendo of his crying in joy afterwards. It’s enough to make any man doubt his virtue or sanity. Hangover 2 defiantly gives you little to cling to by the side of the pool as you go deep into Bangkok’s world of sex and violence. Stu is in way over his head as Phil tries hopelessly to paint the possibility of life after madness and the loss of his virginity.
It’s the quiet moments that bring a relevance to the pacing and story arc. When in an elevator before a switcharo meeting with fellow gangster, Chow reveals his inner self during an impromptu muzak inspired singalong
There is so much packed into this film. Humor, action, drama, and choice cuts of monkey smoking, drug dealing montages. It’s difficult to pack all the highs into one review. I will add that the cinematography is wondrous and the DI coloring is amazing, it kept my eyes glued to the spectacle.
It’s only when the slideshow at the end of the movie appears, do you really get a glimpse behind their night of freedom and insanity. A picture is worse than a thousand words.
It’s a very compelling device, it works gloriously well and you can’t help but look at the snapshots in repulsion and examination.
I can only tie it together by saying, watch this film, enjoy it and the talented people that created it. I am anxious to see Hangover 3, but the daunting task of being bullied by John Goodeman put me off from a theater viewing. I am not a fan of Goodeman’s play by numbers wretched bad guy portrayals. Slim ratings from various sites has kept me away from what was my favorite of tentpole films.
Hangover 3 is coming to Bluray soon and I may dare to pass the big man’s eyeballing twitches to see the Wolf Packs finale. I can only hope that they keep the same formula but up the anti for character development and madness.
But I will say this.
“Nigga please, you know we both dead inside”
“Oh you’re having a bad day, did you die?”