101 minutes

A stellar example of the pointlessness and cynicism of contemporary Hollywood, and of its blatant disregard for its audience's expectations, The Hangover Part II is an exercise lesson in how to devalue a currency by trivialising a fondly remembered original. Not that that aren't funny gags and the occasional inspired moment in this sequel that reunites all of the principal cast and crew of the 2009 blockbuster comedy (but not, pointedly, original screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore). It's just that the option to make this practically a step-by-step retread of the original Hangover comes across as a lazy, calculated way to follow up the original, assuming that people will shell for exactly more of the same. Sadly, that may be true, judging by the blockbuster box-office the film has already reaped in only one week on general US release.
     But the law of diminishing returns demands that, once the surprise effect of the premise is gone, whatever's left loses the original luster and comes across as laboured and tiresome. Thus, the Vegas odyssey of three men searching for a fourth after pulling an all-night bender they can't recall anything of is transplanted to Bangkok, and screenwriters Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong and writer/director Todd Phillips busy themselves finding the Thai equivalents of the outrageously raunchy adventures of their waylaid heroes. Despite the game cast, the occasional inspired idea (the lookalike Tyson tattoo, the street-savvy monkey, the cameo from Paul Giamatti as a growly criminal) and the generally smart visuals (given here an added exotic, day-glo sheen by returning DP Lawrence Sher), it all lacks the drive of the original and suggests the alchemy that turned the original into a phenomenon has been lost in this soulless exercise in profit maximization.

Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Jeffrey Tambor; with Justin Bartha; and Paul Giamatti.
     Directed by Todd Phillips; produced by mr. Phillips, Dan Goldberg; written by Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong and mr. Phillips, based on characters created by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore; music by Christophe Beck; director of photography (colour, Technicolor digital intermediate, widescreen), Lawrence Sher; production designer, Bill Brzeski; costume designer, Louise Mingenbach; film editors, Debra Neil-Fisher, Mike Sale. 
     A Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Legendary Pictures, of a Green Hat Films production. (US distributor and world sales, Warner Bros. Pictures.)
     Screened: distributor advance press screening, Columbia Tristar Warner screening room (Lisbon), May 24th 2011. 


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