Same, same but funnier
John-Paul Hussey reviews The Hangover Part II
By now we all accept that movie franchises are part of the cultural furniture.
Therefore, everyone blithely acknowledges that sequels don't usually cut it; to be followed by a version III, tending to be either laughable or insulting. And if there is a part IV most will only see it when comes out on DVD and only if it comes with free pizza.
Yes, The Hangover II is the same as The Hangover I. Same plot, same characters and just like those T-shirt that any damn fool can buy in Thailand - where this Hangover sequel is set - this reprise is 'same, same - but different.' It's different because it's darker and that, thankfully, makes it much funnier.
The Hangover I was set in Vegas, but Vegas is not what it used to be in the days of Hunter S Thompson, Elvis or The Rat Pack. Because yes, even that Shangri-la of vice has turned into a shopping mall and yes, most of the gamblers are part of an over 65 bus tour.
Bland, safe and predictable; that's what the Vegas holiday package has become. So much so that even the local hookers are now obliged to carry mobile Efpost machines with their condoms. Bangkok is a completely different matter altogether, which is why it's no surprise that the producers happily welcomed this location-upgrade, so their Hangover characters go could to another level. Although it is funnier and a little more twisted, it could have been much more so.
But that would have made it R rated and that's always bad for business. It's a shame, really, because there were moments where this movie could have translated into something much more substantial, considering its new location. This surely must have made the director and writer, not the producers, bitch n' bitch about a lost opportunity.
The inevitable question is, will this 'winning' box office formula survive to make a version three? Probably, but where will the boys go to next. Moscow, maybe Brazil and no doubt whatever the location is, its success will be inextricably linked to the future profits of a franchise holiday booking agency.
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