There is a reason sequels make me nervous. Expectations are too high and the new movie can almost never meet them. Such is the case with The Hangover Part II.
The beauty of the original was the sheer unexpectedness of its success. It was over the top, it was like nothing anyone had ever seen, and no one had been looking forward to seeing it before it came out. People who happened to see it told everyone who would listen, “You have to see this movie.” And see it we all did.
Instead of taking risks and being ambitious like its original, The Hangover Part II stuck to its tried and true formula. In fact, it could not have stuck to its formula more. It was almost like the sequel was doing a parody of its original–trying to see how many parallels it could stick in there. Chow jumping out of the icebox instead of the trunk…Teddy stuck in the elevator instead of the roof…Mike Tyson showing up.
So why did critics trash this movie like the Wolfpack trashes hotel rooms? Why, after its colossal opening weekend, did The Hangover Part II lose 60 percent of its audience in just the second week?
Because we’d already seen it before.
The jokes were mostly stale and unquotable. The beauty of the original was that we were roaring with laughter over some of those lines for days (my brother and I still sometimes say, “They gave out rings at the Holocaust?). Unfortunately for this movie, Alan’s character has been appearing in movies since the original (See Due Date, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, and Dinner for Schmucks). His socially inept humor just isn’t as funny anymore because we’ve seen it so many times.
Bradley Cooper was the funniest part of this movie, aside from Mr. Chow. His cool, sarcastic rantings were the freshest part of the movie. Don’t get me totally wrong–The Hangover Part II is funny. You’ll laugh a lot when you see it. But it is forgettable. You won’t be quoting it or returning to see it.
If a third Hangover is made–and if the box office winnings from the sequel are any indication, it will happen–writers seriously need to go back to the drawing board and realize it was the originality of their first formula that made it so great, not the formula itself.