Movie review: More laughs might cure 'The Hangover Part II'
Itâ€™s a given that boys will be boys with bruising consequences again in Todd Phillipsâ€™ latest comedy outrage, â€śThe Hangover Part II.â€ť
The title after all is a pretty straightforward declaration that this is the fully warranted sequel to the writer-directorâ€™s 2009 surprise runaway smash hit about three guys who wake up in a trashed Las Vegas hotel room feeling the crushing morning-after effects of a mobile night on the town they canâ€™t remember, and their frantic efforts to retrace their drugged and drunken path of destruction and find their missing bridegroom buddy, control all the damage and get him to the wedding on time.
But the comic shots in this second serving are watered down by a funky tasting formulaic sameness, the formula being a part-by-part remix of the same narrative cocktail Phillips poured in the first round.
The laughs are here to be sure, especially in the shaggy, portly form of Zach Galifianakis as Alan, the self-described â€śstay-at-home-sonâ€ť of rich, doting parents who wants desperately to be accepted by his brother-in-law, Doug (Justin Bartha), and Dougâ€™s best friends Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms). Unfortunately (and hilariously), heâ€™s prone to appallingly inappropriate and childish behavior that kind of puts everyone off.
But itâ€™s deja vu all over again from the opening fade-in, with a bedraggled and borderline-panicked Phil on the phone to his wife, trying to explain why he and his buddies have been absent all night from the scene of a wedding that is now only hours away. Just as before, the reason for Philâ€™s distress is that one of his hard-partying companions is missing and possibly kidnapped, dead or at least grievously injured.
Once again, ringleader Phil, milquetoasty Stu and weird Alan â€” the â€śWolf Packâ€ť as Alan has dubbed his crew â€” are tasked with tracking down clues to the nature of the previous nightâ€™s bachelor party debauchery and the whereabouts of a lost sidekick.
Whatâ€™s different this time is the setting, switched from Vegas to Bangkok, and Stuâ€™s the one whoâ€™s getting married, to a beautiful Asian-American girl named Lauren (Jamie Chung), despite his tenuous relationship with his future father-in-law, Fohn (Nirut Sirichanya), a stern traditionalist who thinks Stu is something less than a man.
And this time the missing person is Fohnâ€™s favorite son, Teddy (Mason Lee), a teenage academic and artistic genius whoâ€™s escaped daddyâ€™s watchful eye to tag along with Phil and company and discover the forbidden wonders of a grown-up boysâ€™ night out.
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