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The Hangover 2 - sequel or regurgitated remake?

There is nothing clever or thought-provoking about The Hangover 2. It is not revolutionary nor is it groundbreaking. Far from it. In fact, it hovers towards the mono-brow end of the spectrum, but if your expectations are low enough, you won’t be disappointed.

Personally I was not. But I came with my anticipations dragging their knuckles on the floor. It was a rainy afternoon and monging out at the matinee seemed appropriate.

The first Hangover film was undeniably enjoyable. The structure of the plot was novel and kept me interested with snappy dialogue sprinkled into the script. The sequel might as well have been the same film, half-heartedly chewed up and spat out. Except with a bigger carbon foot print – set in Thailand and all.

Even so, the trick of thickening the plot solid straight away, somehow kept me involved, lubricated by yet-again-witty dialogue. It made what could have been a total cringe-fest bearable.

Stu the dentist (Ed Helms) is up next on the wedding merry-go-around. And this time it’s for real (not drunken) love to his ‘way out of your league dude’ Thai girlfriend. Unsurprisingly, based on previous experiences, he does not want to have a batchelor’s do.

Not only is he dumb enough to think he can get away with that, he is also somehow convinced to invite 4th wheel, wild card, Alan (Zach Galiafinakis). You know the one who managed to so royally mess things up in the first film.

Enter the bride’s brother, Teddy (Mason Lee), who joins them on their journey.  Oh dear. This is more than Alan’s brittle bruv’ bravado can handle and his insecurities get the better of him - purified hatred virtually squirting from his pores. It doesn’t help that Teddy is the epitome of the golden child, perfect at everything. Even the cello.

As in any self-respecting wedding film, the bride’s father hates the groom, giving the rehearsal dinner scene ample opportunity to make me shudder - in a sicky way. Cut to the beach and a bonfire; the tipping point of things going tits up for the gang. The plan is to have one beer each and head to bed. These are of course the famous last words and sure enough the accidental Mötley Crüe wake up to total carnage. And from there the story unravels, allowing the audience to knit their very own string vest of a plot as they go along.

One of my favourite parts of the movie was the drug dealing, chain-smoking, punk-monkey who befriends Alan. I wonder how the film makers managed get past animal rights groups to be able show the little menace lighting up on the screen.

One thing the Hangover 2 does do, is amp upthe gross-out factor. If Stu was embarrassed of his antics in the last film, he is upping the ante to rigor mortified in this one. Without spoiling the plot for those of you who might, even after reading this review, watch the film; let’s just say it would take most of us a while to live down.

Eventually the drama peaks, and our anti-heroes head back to the wedding in a speedboat. That’s all fine, even if a little twattish, in a Miami Vice way. It is the way they beach said speedboat, right by the altar, that broke my naff-o-meter. I wanted to crawl into my, by then empty, box of popcorn and curl up in embarrassment. Luckily for Stu, his blushing bride did not see it that way. Even her father was swept off his feet by this new “bad boy” image. And all was well in la-la land.

As in the first film, the revealing photo montage of the shenanigans of the “night before” was the highlight. It even managed to curb that that curiously English culture of bolting out of cinema seats the minute the credits roll. I’ve always wondered what the rush is.

Directed by Todd Phillips; written by Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong and Todd Phillips (incorporating ideas of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore);starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms.
Warner Brothers Pictures: Running time: 1 hour 41 minutes