Right up front let me admit that this editorial comes from a place of large assumptions, namely that there are people who are excited about The Hangover Part II. I base that on a couple of observations, but I understand if you look at this and simply reply “There are no people excited about The Hangover Part II!”
But assuming you do go with my thesis, that there are people excited about The Hangover Part II, the question must be raised: WHY?
Another note here: this isn’t really a question of the quality of the movie. I didn’t see the first film (I’ve caught bits on cable, but who has the time to bother?), so maybe the first one is such a masterpiece of comedy that a sequel is demanded. I don’t know. I do know that Todd Phillips is a fairly lame director who makes frat movies for people who can’t get into frats; his films are funny enough but soulless, crushingly inhuman, and without decent characters. I assume The Hangover is like those films, which made me laugh enough to not be bad but were not of the quality I demand for things to be good.
Okay, enough with the dicking around. The reason I ask this question is because of one simple fact: there are almost no good comedy sequels. There are some you might like, and there some that are okay, but a comedy sequel as good as the original is the rarest of beasts. It’s the unicorn of the film world.
The best comedy sequels are usually hybrid films, movies like Gremlins 2: The New Batch or A Shot In The Dark. Other strong comedy sequels tend to be absurd films, like Airplane II: The Sequel or the Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear. But even those films (with the exception of A Shot In The Dark) are obviously inferior to the first.
In fact the only comedy sequel I could imagine myself being interested in is Anchorman 2, and that’s because of the huge amount of talent involved as well as the fact that director Adam McKay wants to make the film very different from the first. It would be a musical, for one thing!
The Hangover Part II is obviously no different from the original. The appeal here is the rehash of the first story, which is always the worst thing for a sequel of any kind. A test screening was held recently and word has leaked to me that the film is more or less the exact same as the first, just with a different location. I guess for some folks this will be nice - they liked the jokes the first time, they’ll like them again the second time (I call this The Mike Myers Principle). But my understanding is that part of the appeal of the first film was the way it was unexpected - doesn’t this undercut the very thing that makes it a hit?
Whatever. I probably won’t see The Hangover Part II either. Life is way too short for Zach Galifianakis movies (but weirdly not for his standup or viral stuff). What’s more interesting to me is the very concept of a comedy sequel. And so I turn the question to you guys:
What are the great comedy sequels? Not pretty good, not ones you like, not ones that appeal to you because you were 9 when you saw them - actually great comedy sequels. Let’s see if we can’t get a list together.