It’s inevitable these days for a super smash hit comedy, horror, superhero, sci-fi or action film to be followed up by a sequel. If it made money, it will make money again. Preserving integrity doesn’t even register on the radar of most Hollywood studios, as well it shouldn’t. These guys are in the business of putting big, fat, green dollar signs on PowerPoint presentations in shareholder meetings. It reminds me of the iconic Glengarry Glen Ross Alec Baldwin scene: “Good script? I don’t give a shit. Original idea? Fuck you! Go home and watch Kurosawa. You wanna work here — make money!”
And that’s just what they did. They made money this weekend, gobs and gobs of it. Success? Sure, I suppose. Good movie? Not even close.
I loved The Hangover. Loved. It. It’s one of those movies that when you leave the theater, you’re psyched to tell all your friends to see it. You want to find yourself in situations, appropriate or alarmingly inappropriate, to quote your favorite lines. You, like me, probably inserted the word “weenis” into your daily conversations. The film was new, it was funny and it broke all expectations. There wasn’t anything not to love. I got it on Blu-ray as soon as it came out.
I raised my eyebrows when I heard they were doing a sequel. My first instinct was, “Yay!” My second was, “How?” Then I heard it was going to be in Thailand… oh, I see what they’re doing, they’re going even further. I gotcha. OK, this could be good.
Turns out, no, it can’t be good. Well, I shouldn’t say that. It could be good, but not this way. It’s the EXACT same movie as the first. They didn’t do anything differently. They exchanged Vegas for Thailand, the baby for a monkey, threw in a couple more wiener shots and called it a day. That’s it, and I am not exaggerating. The set-up is the same and the pay-off identical.
The jokes aren’t as original, nor are they as plentiful. There isn’t a line that you didn’t expect or already see in the trailer. Instead of clutching my gut, praying I wouldn’t pee a little, I merely smiled — occasionally. I don’t want to be too harsh, because it’s beautifully shot and well crafted. But so was the first one.
I’ll say this about Todd Phillips’ films: they look amazing. You can feel the heat and debauchery of Thailand dripping from the screen. The movie is well-composed and expertly framed, but you just don’t care because you’re too busy tapping your foot, waiting for it to end. The characters aren’t nearly as subtle either. Each flaw — whether Bradley Cooper’s arrogance or Zach Galifianakis’ obnoxiousness — is taken one step further than before, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Those are the qualities in a person you like spoonfuls of rather than shovelfuls.
It’s a shame the movie doesn’t live up to the expectations set up by the original. I don’t know if it ever could. I heard Phillips once say that he wanted to recreate the experience, not remake the movie. I’m not sure he succeeded. I wonder if this movie would have worked as well as the original if it had been first. However, the film lacks some of the heart I recognized in the first one. (Although that could be me looking back with nostalgia and gilding the memory.) In the end, it’s not a bad movie — not even close. But it’s also a movie I never need to see again.
My Best of 2012 Playlist by Eric Garneau
After being inspired by some friends, for the past few years I’ve been really into documenting my musical exploration with year-end mixes. I realize this is not a particularly novel thing to do, but hey, who has original ideas any more? Anyway, this has gotten even easier to do thanks to new technology like Spotify. read more