Another wild night

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, May 26, 2011 12:01am
  • Life

When a smoking monkey steals the film from a collection of seasoned pros, it might be a sign that inspiration is running low.

Granted, the monkey in “The Hangover Part II” is very, very good. But still, his standout performance indicates a sad truth about this movie’s operating procedure: Do exactly what the first movie did, but make it raunchier.

Two years have passed since the blurry, debauched night in Vegas, when the members of “the Wolfpack” first got into so much trouble. Now, they’ve gone to Thailand, where mild-mannered dentist Stu (Ed Helms) is set to marry.

The boys have agreed that the bachelor party idea is a bad one, given their track record. But once again, the film offers an abrupt cut to the Morning After: Three of the guys wake up in a sordid hotel room in Bangkok, with no memory of the previous night but with a pretty good idea that they’ve misplaced Stu’s new brother-in-law.

The rest of the movie will attempt to figure out the night before, through a variety of increasingly wild gags.

Returning with Helms are Wolfpackers Phil and Alan (Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis), as well as Mr. Chow, played by the truly uninhibited Ken Jeong. The missing brother-in-law is played by Mason Lee (the son of Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee), who has a bemused, likable screen presence.

Paul Giamatti turns up for a brief role, and there’s a “surprise” cameo, I suppose you could call it. The filmmakers nixed the idea of Mel Gibson as a tattoo artist, even though that would surely have been funnier than the scene as it plays now.

Don’t look for the women to make much of an impression; Heather Graham’s role in the first “Hangover” was Shakespearian by comparison to anything this film offers.

Director Todd Phillips again guides the material. While the first movie had some truly funny moments, the sequel feels like a slavish imitation.

The new location is a good idea, but otherwise the film operates in the same way as the first one; part of the audience response, it seems, is in recognizing how this movie hits the same beats as the previous picture (right down to the gimmick for the end credits).

The one innovation is to make things even dirtier than they were before. When I suggested the original film was a cross between “Bachelor Party” and “Deliverance,” I had no idea how closely that would describe the sequel.

Admittedly, “The Hangover Part II” is crazier than its predecessor. But not funnier.

“The Hangover Part II” 1½ stars

Wilder and raunchier than the original, but not, alas, funnier. The Wolfpack members go on another dimly remembered bachelor toot, this time in Bangkok, where things get even more out of hand. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis return.

Rated: R for nudity, language, violence, subject matter

Showing: Alderwood, Cinebarre, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, stanwood, Metro, Pacific Place, Thorton Place, Woodinville, Cascade Mall, Oak Harbor

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