Bangkok has them now

The Hangover debauchery continues in Thailand

Déjà vu all over again.

Déjà vu all over again.

The Hangover Part II
Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis. Directed by Todd Phillips. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated R.
Rated 3.0

I’ve had some pretty gnarly hangovers in my life, but I’m thankful I’ve never been the blackout type. These guys, on the other hand, apparently are. And for that, I am thankful.

I admit I had my doubts going into The Hangover Part II. The storyline, from what I could gather from the trailers, seemed contrived—it looked like The Hangover, in Thailand. And that’s essentially what it is. But not in a bad way—apparently the formula concocted for the first film was so good it worked twice.

This time around, the guys head to Thailand for Stu’s (Ed Helms) wedding. Apparently he’s met a sweet little thing (Jamie Chung—funny side note, I knew her as a bartender in SoCal before she made it to Hollywood), and they’re tying the knot on the beach where her parents live.

The whole crew is back, and it seems dentist Stu learned his lesson about bachelor parties after Vegas and his only intention is to have one beer with his buddies on the beach. Clearly things don’t work out as planned.

The film is almost completely a rehash of the last one. Instead of a tiger, there’s a monkey. Instead of losing Doug (Justin Bartha), they lose Teddy (Mason Lee), the bro-in-law-to-be. There’s a strip club, somewhat disturbing dudity (dude nudity), a kidnapping, even a Mike Tyson cameo. So how is this movie still funny?! It just is.

Zach Galifianakis is ridiculous fun as always, and Ken Jeong has a likeable secondary role, but even Bradley Cooper and his bad-boy smirk take a back seat in this one, handing the reins to Helms instead. In fact, I wouldn’t have guessed it was possible, but this Helms character could have more star power than his Andy Bernard (The Office) could imagine.

The centerpiece of the film, the hangover and the events that precede it, all comes together quite flawlessly. The same cannot be said, however, about the flimsy stage-setting before and after said centerpiece. Chung, for instance, plays a likeable fiancée for Stu, but you can’t convince me that any woman would take a look at her groom with a newly planted face tattoo and not freak out at least a little bit. And the contrived ways in which Alan (Galifianakis) is invited to the wedding and Mr. Chow (Jeong) comes into the picture are just a little too convenient for reality.

Thankfully, this isn’t reality.