The action in “The Hangover Part 2” starts as so many bad benders do, with the simple words, “Come and have a drink with me and the guys” and ends after as debauched ride through the streets of Bangkok as has ever been committed to film. The first time around, in 2009, the day after the night before adventures of the Wolfpack—Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms—was fresh, even charming in an alcoholic haze kind of way. This time out the guys have all the charm of stale beer breath.
The set up is similar to the first film. This time around Phil (Cooper) and Alan (Galifianakis) are groomsmen at their buddy Stu (Helms) Thailand wedding. One thing leads to another and they wake up in a grotty Bangkok hotel room, minus one of the wedding party, Teddy (Mason Lee), Stu’s bride-to-be’s brother. To find him they must re-enact the first movie… er… turn Bangkok upside down.
“The Hangover Part 2” has a severe case of sequelitis. It tries to please the core “Hangover” audience by presenting a familiar—some would say photocopied—plot, but also introduces new, darker humor in an attempt to keep things fresh. Neither is really successful. The recycled plot points borrowed from the original—Stu writes a song about their adventures, there’s the Tyson tattoo, hookers and the mystery of a missing friend—don’t work as well the second time through and the movie’s dark tone dampens many of the laughs.
Ed Helms spends much of the movie screaming, “I can’t believe this is happening again,” and frankly, by the end of the first hour, neither can the audience.
Galifianakis brings most of the laughs to the movie, but his unbalanced brand of humour is hit and miss and the character Alan is better in small doses, not as the main fount of funny.
There is nothing as hilarious here as the first movie’s tiger in the bedroom or the closing credit’s Polaroids. If these guys decide to go for a third binge, perhaps they should call Dr. Drew first.