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The Hangover Part II

This sequel to the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time (a rather specific statistic, but Hollywood thrives on those) hews to drive-in movie critic Joe Bob Brigg’s number one criteria for sequels: As far as possible, make the exact same movie. The location has changed from Las Vegas to Thailand, but fans of The Hangover will otherwise be happy to learn that they don’t have to worry about trying to follow a new plot here: It’s pretty much the same movie with better scenery.

Right after the bachelor party in Las Vegas, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zach Galifianakis), and Stu (Ed Helms) are in Thailand for the latter’s wedding to the daughter of a Thai industralist. Oh, I forgot about Doug (Justin Bartha), but so does the movie after about 15 minutes. Despite their attempts to behave, they wake up the morning before the wedding in a shabby hotel room with an animal, a severed finger, and no idea how they got there. And yadda yadda.

There is actually one notable way in which this sequel differs, though it’s one that will probably make all the difference: Rather than increasing the gross-out quotient, director and co-writer Todd Phillips has failed to meet the bad taste standard of the original. (Perhaps that’s due to replacing the original scripters with his longtime collaborators Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong.) Personally I was relieved, having cringed though the first film’s use of an endangered baby and a naked, obese old man for laughs, but I suspect fans will disagree.

That leaves most of the humor to stem from Zach Galifianakis, who has hit the big time since the first Hangover. Unfortunately his socially challenged Alan is no more believable than he was previously, and the added spotlight just makes him all the more grating. On top of everything else, it’s an ugly movie to look at, and one unlikely to be embraced by the Thailand chamber of commerce.

m. faust

Watch the trailer for The Hangover Part II

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