R Dir: Todd Phillips | Warner | 102 min.
Plot: What’s it about?
Being a screenwriter on “The Hangover 2” must have been about the easiest job in the world. Why, you ask? Well let me tell you. See, as we learned in “Scream”, sequels are supposed to be bigger and better with even more outrageous antics than the first one (presumably that made the original a success…or at least worthy of a sequel). In “The Hangover 2” it’s not so much a sequel, but the exact same movie. Yes, I felt strongly about that, hence my use of the bold text. Imagine, if you will, this conversation taking place between Warner and a writer:
Warner: Ok, we need a script for “The Hangover 2” since the first one did so well.
Writer: I can do that.
Warner: Yeah, but we don’t want anything new. Let’s move the locale from Las Vegas to…Bangkok. And instead of Justin Bartha’s character missing, let’s make it someone else.
Writer: I can really do that – that’s easy!
Warner: Oh, we also need a monkey in there somewhere. People love monkeys.
Writer: Will do.
Ok, so maybe it didn’t go exactly like that and, truthfully if you liked the first one then this one delivers as well. But don’t read this as me bashing the movie. I found it very funny, as I did the original, so let’s see where in the world the “Wolfpack” is now.
It’s been two years since Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) tore up Las Vegas. Stu’s now engaged to a woman and is set to get married. The only problem is that the wedding’s in Thailand. After his “Bachelor Party” at the local IHOP, the trio jaunt off to Bangkok for the festivities (and they manage to bring along Doug this time). In a scene mirroring the one from the original, we learn that the trio has once again let things get out of control. Who’s missing this time? That’d be Teddy (Mason Lee), the prodigal younger brother of Stu’s fiancÃ©, Lauren (Jamie Chung). Now, once again, the “Wolfpack” must piece the events of the previous night and mislead the wedding party to think that nothing’s wrong. Can they do it? Well…didn’t they do it before?
I know it sounds like I’m bashing the movie, but in all actuality how many times has a sequel been “too big” or “too extreme” and it didn’t really feel like it delivered? All too often. Is there really something wrong with filmmaker’s giving us what we want? I mean hey, if it ain’t broke – then don’t fix it, right? The fact is that “The Hangover 2” seemed to know what audiences wanted and gave it to them on a silver platter. The film grossed over $250 domestically and with a budget of only $80 million, it tucked away a nice little profit. The movie does what it’s supposed to do and does it well. We’ve got pretty much every familiar face back, except the lovely Heather Graham, her character has been somewhat replaced by…well, maybe it’s better if you find that one out for yourself.
Video: How does it look?
As we’d expect from a movie of this caliber, the image is nothing short of perfection. The 2.40:1 AVC HD image is consistent with that of a big budget studio release. Colors are bright and crisp with some scenes retaining a bit of grain for some added effect. Detail is top notch, just look at the shear marks in Alan’s head throughout – impressive. We get some aerial shots of Bangkok that look a little on the worn side, though they’re most likely stock shots so I won’t worry about that. “The Hangover 2” looks pretty much exactly as I thought it would and I highly doubt anyone will be disappointed with this transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
Most comedies, by and large, have a rather limited sound mix. This isn’t the case with “The Hangover 2” where we get a very robust DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack. Directional effects are very pronounced and the soundtrack as a whole quite simply rocks. Dialogue is very clear and solid with no hint of distortion. The hardest part for me was trying to decipher what actor Ken Jeong was saying – though that’s no fault of the mix. The LFE even get involved and, wouldn’t you know it, there’s another car chase scene for some added action. Like the video, the audio doesn’t disappoint.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Like the original Blu-ray for “The Hangover” we get some supplements, but they’re not quite up to par with what we’d expect. I assume that Warner will no doubt deluge us with an “Extreme” version at some point in the future. For the time being we’ve got a mockumentary entitled “Unauthorized Documentary: the documentary about the documentary they don’t want you to see about the making of ‘The Hangover Part II'” We see some Hollywood producers and actual filmmakers like Morgan Spurlock and J.J. Abrahms as they actually poke fun at themselves. We get three short featurettes that focus on the comedy of Todd Phillips, one on the monkey and we also get a tour of Bangkok. An “Action Mashup” is also shown as is a gag reel. The disc is BD-Live enabled, but at this time there was nothing on Warner’s site.