Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bangkok almost had us: The Hangover 2

Before you decide to embark on an outpouring of disgust at my ravings concerning the inherently predictable and faulty-by-design nature of sequels, allow me to say a few words in my defense. I am no pseudo-intellectual and there’s no reason to get snappy and all inflammatory if I choose to give a thumbs down to a film that the world can’t stop talking about. And when I first came to know about a sequel being planned to The Hangover, my gut reaction was, for what joy?

Believe me when I say this, I enjoy laughing my ass off just as much as the guy next door. But I am a prude when it comes to the principle of ‘why fix it, if it ain’t broken’. And it’s precisely with this sentiment that I entered the corridors of the hall screening The Hangover 2. I wasn’t quite gung-ho about this adventure, simply because I feared what director Todd Phillips might do to the franchise in order to keep the cash registers ringing. And I am happy to say, it’s not that bad, after all.

Don’t even expect me to mull over the premise – if you’ve seen the mothership, you know what the satellites look like. Opting for a continental shift in action, we find the members of the wolf pack – Phil, Stu, Doug and Alan back together, and in Thailand this time. Set about two years post the original drunken spree of casual sex, heavy boozing, heavier partying and the accompanying shenanigans, the plot this time is centered around Stu’s wedding.

Yes, Stu’s the same dentist, who got conned into pulling out his own tooth by man-child Alan Garner, who challenged the former on his choice of vocation. The sequel finds Stu with a new tooth and a new squeeze. She’s Asian and she’s Stu’s fiancĂ©e and as Phil remarks early on the film, she could definitely do with a better rack. Phil should know a thing or two about racks – he had become a poster boy for hedonistic laughs when he decided to compliment the ones on a lady in the leopard dress in the original Hangover.

But that is history. As the tagline in the poster for the new film goes, Bangkok’s got them this time. I must be an airhead for walking into a Todd Phillips movie and not expecting a barrage of jokes centered squarely on the name of the Thai capital city. There is one such gag right before the interval. You can take my word for it – you won’t know what hit you, for it’s a one-minute long laughathon that will make you cry out in uncontrolled guffaws.

That scene is the film’s money shot. Those who have seen it are already smiling to themselves, thinking if they need to revisit the film, just to catch that one scene. The story remains pretty much the same – a night of not-so-drunken revelry for Stu and his gang that should be seen as nothing more than a speeding ticket in an otherwise blissfully eventful journey of married bliss. Of course, as fate would have it, things do go wrong, and seriously wrong at that.

Finding their way back home is the least of their concerns. The quartet has their hands full, with everyone from trigger-happy gangsters to drug lords and even the FBI, hot on their trail. In my utterly personal opinion, I had exhausted all my laughs just before the interval. And all the gags in the world could not induce one thereafter. But, what the hell! The gang that I'd gone with, more than made up for the experience with their own take on the gags. Love you guys. You made this sequel shine.



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