Saturday, May 28, 2011
A Bangkok Hangover
On Friday after work, I went to see The Hangover, Part II. Not that I was overly excited to see this sequel. I thought the first movie was okay. Sure, there were some big laughs that appeals to the raunchy sense of humour most guys have (myself included), but I thought the first film was overrated. I'm still stunned that it made over $400 million, setting the record as the most successful comedy of all time. Really? That film broke records? I can watch 9 to 5, even though I've seen it plenty of times, and still laugh at the same jokes in the movie. Now that's a classic that never gets old. I've only seen The Hangover once and that was enough for me. I'm certain that repeated viewings won't be any funnier.
So, why see the sequel, then? Well, these crazy film producers just had to film the sequel in Thailand. There aren't a lot of movies filmed in Thailand and I really want to see one. I love the exotic locales in movies, which is a big reason why I love foreign movies, because I get a glimpse into lives of people in other countries (without the distraction of a famous face playing some character). I saw a Thai film earlier this year (Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives) that was strange and ultimately disappointing. When I learned that the dudes (The "Wolfpack") of The Hangover were going to Thailand for the sequel, I decided that I would go see this one, even though I'm not expecting much out of it other than the same movie as the first one, with a Thai twist.
The movie essentially is The Hangover in a new locale. Instead of a tiger, there's a monkey. Instead of a baby, there's an old Buddhist man in a wheelchair who made a vow of silence. Instead of a missing tooth, Stu has a Mike Tyson-esque face tattoo. There's a wedding (Stu is getting married to a Thai lady at a resort in southern Thailand). There's a knock-out drug that causes the guys to wake up hours later clueless about what happened the previous night. Someone is missing and the wedding is a day away. Strangely, though, the groom from the first movie (played by Justin Bartha) is not in on the adventure this time (last time, he was the missing person in Las Vegas). He gets to hang out with his wife and the wedding party at the resort while his buddies are trying to figure out how they ended up in Bangkok. The sequel follows the same formula as the original. There is a slight twist, though. But as I noticed with the audience, the laughs weren't as many or as gut-busting as the original film was (this is one reason why I wanted to see the movie with an audience rather than wait to see it on DVD).
Though I would not give this movie high marks, I did like seeing Bangkok in all its glory. The best scene was a breakfast scene at the top of a skyscraper's outdoor patio. Man, if such a building exists, that would be a great place to have a wedding! The architecture is amazing and so is the view! Like the original film, the Asian dude with the strange accent and mannerisms stole the movie, hands down. He made the movie funnier than it otherwise would have been. I felt sorry for the monkey, though. Someone should really call PETA for what they made the monkey do in the movie. Seriously.
While I expect the movie to have a strong opening weekend, I think it will suffer a huge drop in the second week. It may be lucky to make it to $200 million, but that's all I would expect it to make. Some of the jokes / situations were just too off the wall absurd. The original film had the advantage of feeling unique, because there was never a film quite like it. That made it feel fresh and many people gave that movie great word of mouth. Since people who will see the sequel likely saw the original film, its going to feel very, "been there, done that." Instead of trying to be more original, they stuck with the same plot / formula and figured that just setting the movie in Bangkok would give it enough of a different flavour from the first film to satisfy filmgoers. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. They should have taken notes from the remake The Karate Kid, which shows exactly how you can film the same movie as the original, but make it feel just different enough to stand strong on its own.
Another thing I wish the people who made this film would've done is commission an update of a classic 80s song, "One Night in Bangkok." I love this song, especially the melody and chorus line. This song would make an excellent hip hop / rap song, similar to the way Warren G updated the classic Tina Turner song "What's Love Got to Do With It" or classic Michael McDonald song "I Keep Forgettin'" (into "Regulate"). That would make an excellent theme song to this recycled drink in a new shotglass. After you see this sequel, getting wasted so you don't have to remember it might be considered a great idea! Let's hope they don't make a threequel. There's no one left to marry...except Allen, the creepiest member of The Wolfpack.