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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Hangover Part II

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3_Chicks_Small Judy Thorburn

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The original 'The Hangover' was such a huge success at the box office in 2009 having earned over $467 million in theatre ticket sales worldwide, making it the highest grossing R rated comedy ever. So, a follow up was inevitable. The result is deja vu all over again. In other words, Hangover Part II directed by Todd Phillips, who also co-wrote the script with Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong, delivers a rehash of the same premise, with similar gags, but moved to a more exotic location.

Instead of Las Vegas, the setting has been shifted to Thailand where the “wolfpack” of buddies comprised of hunky leader Phil (Bradley Cooper), strait laced dentist Stu (Ed Helms), stay at home son, obnoxious, man/child Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and groom from the last film, bland Doug (Justin Bartha) have traveled for Stu's impending wedding to lovely, Lauren (Jamie Chung), in her native land.

After Doug's bachelor party in Vegas turned into a disastrous experience that he would never forget, Stu's hopes for a mellow, problem free bachelor party in the form of a simple brunch with his friends, doesn't turn out as planned. He agrees to have one beer on the beach with his friends and Lauren's younger brother, Teddy (Mason Lee, son of director Ang Lee), a 16-year-old pre-med student and cello prodigy. But, the following morning, the guys minus Doug, who left early to return to the seaside resort, awake in a seedy, cockroach infested Bangkok hotel room with yet another doozy hangover and no memory of the night before and how they got there.

Instead of missing a tooth, Stu awakes with a tattoo on the left side of his face like Mike Tyson's, and in place of a baby, they find a cigarette smoking, capuchin monkey wearing a denim vest with a Rolling Stones logo on the back. Alan shaved his head and the effeminate, self described 'international criminal', Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong, back again from the first film), is asleep under a blanket on the floor. Making matters worse is the discovery of Teddy's ring finger, with the rest of him missing. Bad enough Teddy's dad and Stu's future father in law (Nirut Sirichanya) hates the man his daughter is marrying and thinks he is unworthy. Now, this tops the cake!

In a pickle of their own making, the motley crew of friends are forced to trace their steps back to the night before in a desperate search for answers that will inevitably lead them to Teddy, in time for Stu's wedding. What ensues is a madcap, screwball adventure with the monkey and Mr. Chow in tow that has the boys making a trip to a tattoo parlor, a strip club, a Buddhist monastery, and encountering some mean (is there any other kind?) drug dealing bikers and a gangster (Paul Giamatti).

It is a no brainer that the Hangover Part II was made as an attempt to cash in on the success of the original. Instead of something different, the followup is basically more of the same, although this time around Bradley Cooper's character is more arrogant and foul mouthed, and Zach's immature character is just plain irritating. The inclusion of male full frontal nudity for shock value, isn't my idea of letting it all hang out.

There are a few funny moments, but as a whole this sequel is darker, more violent and offensive, and not nearly as funny as the first. Sometimes, as in this case, it is better to leave well enough alone. The memory of one Hangover should be enough to last a lifetime.

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