From the “do not try this at home” files comes another hair-of-the-dogged adventure with those hapless American dudes who stormed the box office in 2009 with their smash hit The Hangover. Part cautionary tale about the dangers and pitfalls of excessive partying, part promotional film for the same, and part outlandish lowbrow comic adventure that is neither of the above, The Hangover has inevitably spawned another encounter with demon rum and its fallout. As it turns out, The Hangover Part II is not half-bad, as big budget/lowbrow comedies go, but it’s also a stale reminder of the fresh audacity of the original.
This time around, what happened in Vegas moves to Bangkok, another infamous sin city and a ripe locale for the high jinks of debauching dudes who go too far. In Thailand for the wedding of dentist Stu (The Office’s Ed Helms), the groom-to-be’s pals gather, vowing not to be lured into the iniquity and accidental criminality of their wild Vegas weekend. But, like clockwork and by the rules of sequelization, mayhem ensues, they wake up with mondo hangovers and no memories of what went down, and this time the ante of antics and legal stakes are nudged upward.
Into the equation of partying comrades and male bonders, Zach Galifianakis’s half-cracked Alan is the wild card who enables the chaos and supplies some of the choicest comic moments of the film. While the other fairly well-adjusted American males stay on the lee side of reasonableness, Galifianakis gets his unique absurdity on, dryly issuing lines like “When a monkey nibbles on a penis, it’s funny in any language.” Yes, a pint-sized monkey—specifically, a drug-dealing, cigarette-smoking simian named Crystal—is a key character in the story and tends to steal scenes on a regular basis.
Not to elevate the importance or artistic cred of this scatological silliness, but the movie’s neatest filmic feat comes at the end—or beyond the end—of the narrative. A ribald and hilarious slide show during the credits tells the “rest of the story,” the mostly forgotten exploits of the missing night laid out for us to see, goods and all.