The Hangover Part II review

Yep, the wolfpack are back for more misadventures – this time their shenanigans taking them to busy and bustling Bangkok as opposed to Vegas, but the same comic beats and unbridled energy are maintained. It's more of the same but no worse for that, a slickly made pile-up of low level humour that consistently makes one laugh. See it on a Friday or Saturday night in a packed multiplex and you won't be disappointed.

Two years on and it's stuffy Stu (Helms) who's about to be married (his second walk up the aisle). His gorgeous Asian-American bride-to-be (Chung) insists on the wedding taking place in her family's homeland of Thailand so he summons his pals for the nuptials. But best pal Phil (Cooper) is keen on a stag do – and lo and behold, they get more than they bargained for. Not least waking up in a grotty Bangkok hotel room, with a shaven headed Alan (Galifianakis), a dismembered finger, a manic monkey and a controversial tattoo (the subject of legal proceedings against the movie). Phil tries to take charge but what can they do? They have to yet again piece together the events of the night before - which gather apace with abrasive energy and invention.

So what do they come to remember? How about the aged, wheelchair-bound monk they kidnapped? Or the ladyboys that showed Stu a "good" time? And how did Chow (Jeong) come to be there? The gay crime lord is up to his old tricks again, involving the lads in a shady deal with big time hoodlum Kingsley (Giamatti),  while the boys have to locate Stu's 16-year-old future brother-in-law Teddy (Lee) who has gone missing, much to the displeasure of his stern and stonefaced father .

The plot is engaging enough but it's the high calibre performances that keep one amused throughout. Cooper holds the tale together with effortless ease, Galifianakis' befuddled eccentricity is still uproarious and Jeong more than matches him with his outrageous campery, but it's Helms who is the standout here. He's been given more screen time than the previous effort and the incipient hysteria his character goes through – the grimaces, the looks of horror and indignation, the abject anger – is never overdone or forced. At one point he gives a very funny rendition of the old Billy Joel song Allentown, changing the lyrics to their current predicament. Overall, it's a bravura turn and he's excellent.

Though there's a feeling of deja vu at times, it's presented with such in-your-face confidence that you hardly notice you're watching a remake rather than a sequel. No matter, it's good enough to make you forget the press reports that Liam Neeson replaced Mel Gibson in a scene (no sign of Mr Neeson), nor that Bill Clinton was allegedly due to make an appearance. The makers are highly adept at tickling the funny bone so let's hope we see the wolfpack in further escapades. Somewhere in Europe next time perhaps guys?

Official Site
The Hangover Part II at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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