*When we first encountered the self-proclaimed Wolf Pack a couple of years ago, the four buddies were secretly driving across the desert by convertible to throw Doug (Justin Bartha) a bachelor party in Las Vegas.
However, they got far more than they bargained for when they awakened in a totally trashed hotel room the following morning, not only missing the groom but being unable to recall what had transpired during their ostensibly-wanton night of debauchery.
With just hours until the wedding, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) began frantically retracing their steps to determine Doug’s whereabouts without alarming his fiancée, Tracy (Sasha Barrese), who was waiting impatiently at the altar back in L.A. Ultimately, they did find their pal right in the nick of time for him to tie the knot, but only after embarking on an unbelievably wacky series of misadventures.
In The Hangover Part II it’s dentist Stu’s turn to getting married, but because his bride, Lauren (Jamie Chung), is from Thailand, that’s where they’re planning to exchange their vows. So, the Wolf Pack reunites in that exotic locale for what proves to be an even bawdier bachelor party in the City of Bangkok.
Again directed by Todd Phillips, the sequel slavishly resurrects the original’s storyline almost to a fault, as if the new scriptwriters were afraid to tinker with a winning formula. Consequently, it’s not exactly a surprise this go-round when the guys somehow end up with amnesia after sneaking off to partake in a pre-marital, male-bonding ritual.
The plot has been tweaked slightly to have the bride’s teenage brother, Teddy (Mason Lee), disappear into thin air instead of the groom. And somehow, Doug also gets separated from the others, leaving it again up to Phil, Stu and Alan to search for the kid in a frenetic race against time. Along the way, they even cross paths with some of the same colorful characters they encountered in Vegas, such as Mike Tyson and the shady con man Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong).
Upping the ante in terms of shock value, the film trades in its trademark tasteless humor ranging from Stu’s being raped by a pre-op transsexual (Yasmin Lee) to a miniature primate simulating fellatio on a Buddhist monk (Aroon Seeboonruang) on a bus. The latter tableau inspires terminally-inappropriate Alan to deliver the flick’s most memorable line: “When a monkey nibbles on a penis, it’s funny in any language.”
When all is said and done, Hangover 2 triggers fewer belly laughs-per-minute than the original, yet it nevertheless still generates more than enough yucks to satisfy fans of the gross-out genre. Just remember to check your brain at the box office as you enter the theater because, “What happens in Thailand, stays in Thailand!”
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for brief violence, full-frontal nudity, pervasive profanity, drug use and graphic sexuality.
Running time: 102 Minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers
To see a trailer for The Hangover Part II, click here.