07 June 2011

Dueling Banjos: The Hangover vs. The Hangover: Part II

Needless to say, by this point in time everyone has seen both The Hangover (2009) and its epic companion, The Hangover: Part II (2011). I noticed something funny between these two pictures though. Something very curious - they almost appeared as though they were the same movie. No one else ever seems to have noticed this, but I think there may have been a few similarities. So naturally, it's up to Norwegian Morning Wood to see which Banjo strums the sweeter.

dum da dum dum do

do dee do dee do

There are a lot of obvious similarities to get out of the way. Both feature the same core cast (Zach Galifanakis, Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, their assorted wives) and the same core production team (Director Todd Phillips, Composer Christophe Beck, Editor Debra Neil-Fisher, make-up, sets and costume teams. And George Drakoulias. Which I only bring up to hammer home the Galifanakis connection). Part II did have a whole new writing staff, which makes their plagiarism seem that much insane, actually.

Now throughout this whole thing I want to add that both films are funny as shit, some of the best comedies to come out of the past five years, hell, the past decade. I don't think the copycat issue is a big deal. There could be twenty Hangovers some day, it's like the next Bond franchise. Every Bond is basically the same, we just shuffle the parts and locations. That's all that Part II does. It's just a huge high-profile A-List release (tho its predecessor was a throwaway Summer Comedian starring Andy Bernard, the handsome guy from Wedding Crashers and Fat Jesus). So while the jokes are all new (Something the Austin Powers franchise cannot boast), let's talk plot structure. Naturally again, the idea of a bunch of men getting rowdy before a wedding then spending the next two days figuring out what they did is a bit too simple for NMW. No, we can go deeper. Scene by scene now, here's our roadmap:

Opening Credits: Simple white font over innocuous landscape shots. Hangover: Vegas / Part II: Thailand.

The First Scene is a domestic conversation about the upcoming wedding with the groom and one of the Four Core Alcoholics: Doug and Alan at Alan's Parents' House / Stu and Phil in the Dentist's Office

Dad loves this, so don't fuck it up: Mercedes / Teddy, Ang Lee's Son.

Alan Interrupts a toast with prepared remarks: Phil on the Roof / Teddy at Dinner

Time-Lapse City From Night to Morning: Vegas / Bangkok.

Alan is the second to wake up after Stu / Phil.

There's a critter in the bathroom: Tiger / Monkey.

Stu has damaged his face by Pulling Out his Own Tooth / Getting a Tattoo.

We awake to find someone who we did not start the night with in their hotel room: Jade's Baby (Jade may count herself but she leaves before they wake up) / Leslie Chow.

However the most important person from the night before is missing! Doug the Groom / Teddy the Son.

Check your pockets! Actually they get no clues in Part II. Part II actually tends to obfuscate their scenario far more than The Hangover does. For one, they wake up in a city they didn't even start out in while they're at least on familiar territory in their hotel room in the first installment.

Things actually get kind of out of order here, and things correspond a bit differently, not exactly lining up structure-wise. The Monk lines up a lot of these:

We partied all night with a feeble human who can't talk, so of course Alan makes inappropriate penis jokes: Jade's Baby / The Monk.

We pick up the person we're looking for but find instead Black Doug / The Monk.

With difficulty we return what we stole but are injured for it: Cop Car, we get tasered / The Monk, we get whacked with sticks.

Valuable information from a cameo: Matt Walsh playing Dr. Valsh / Nick Cassavetes playing Tattoo Joe.

Which leads us to Bryan Callen as Nice Guy Eddie, who runs a Chapel / Samir, who runs a Tranny Strip Club

Stu's Weakness for Prostitutes: Marrying Jade / Banging Ladyboy Kimmy

Leaving this place we're attacked by gangsters avenging our theft of Leslie Chow / Monkey

And someone is shot! Nice Guy Eddie / Phil.

Chow Attacks! Out of a Trunk after they locked him up the night before / Out of an Ice Cooler after they locked him up thinking he was dead in the morning.

Alan admits it was his fault we blacked out after Chow Attack! / Phil is shot.

But he didn't mean to! He thought Ruffies were Ecstasy / meant for only Teddy to eat the marshmallows

The Owner of the Animal we stole inflicts some damage: Tyson knocks out Alan / The Russian Gangsters shoot Phil.

Stu Sings! Stu's Song / Allentown.

We meet some gangsters and get an ultimatum for the release of our missing friend: Chow wants his Money / Kingsley wants Chow.

Tho improbable, we succeed during the second night but the next morning instead of Doug / Teddy the gangster has Black Doug / No one. And not a gangster.

This is too much, we need to call our wives. How about Phil? But wait! Stu figures it out! These parts are identical actually.

Our missing friend was at the hotel the whole time! He was up on the roof / in a broken elevator.

Race to the wedding in a Pretty Busted Mercedes / Gangster Speedboat. C'mon, that's an upgrade.

Stu! Time to tell off somebody - Girlfriend Melissa / Fiance Lauren's Father.

So the wedding goes pretty smoothly despite the groom having a rough face full of Suburn / Tattoo.

We've got a special guest singer, it's The Dan Band / Tyson.

And someone found a camera, let's look at the ridiculousness we actually had over the credits!

Here are some more General Similarities and Running Jokes:
The group grows from Four to Six Partiers: Stu, Phil, Alan, Doug, Black Doug and Chow / Stu, Phil, Alan, Teddy, The Monk and Chow.

The worst injury anyone suffers is done to themselves: Stu pulls his own tooth / Teddy chops off his own finger.

Tyson Sings: "In the Air Tonight" / "One Night in Bangkok" ... terribly.

Alan knows the touring schedule of the Jonas Brothers. And has a creepy obsession with Phil. And doesn't swear.

Phil hates his kids and once again inexplicably comes out of the night relatively unscathed but works as the leader of the gang to piece together the night before.

Stu goes through a lot. Really this is just for the narrative - the most uptight character needs to freak out the most at the demon that's unleashed. Phil or Alan would be way too cool with doing what Stu does.

Kanye West music is featured: "Can't Tell Me Nothing" / "Dark Fantasy"

Mr. Creepy.

I'm actually sure that there's a ton more. Any suggestions I will definitely accept. At any rate, feel free to write your very own Hangover Movie using this outline. It's guaranteed to gross $200+ million domestically.

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