Grog monsters ride again
THIS is the movie every comedy fan has been waiting two long years to see.
When the original The Hangover staggered into view in mid-2009, no one was prepared for the guilty pleasure treasure that was revealed.
That first film set a manic pace while maintaining an incredible strike rate of so-bad-it-just-has-to-be-good laughs.
Well into the third act – a dead zone where even the best comedies usually start to sag – The Hangover was still hitting high notes of hilarity.
The setting might be radically different for The Hangover Part II, but the formula improvised so audaciously in the original is now etched in stone.
Look past the odd repeat gag or three and most will acknowledge that what was funny in Las Vegas is almost as funny in Bangkok.
Once again, the launch point for a recklessly raunch-fuelled odyssey into the bluest extremes of the buddy comedy genre is a monstrous morning after the big night before.
On the eve of his wedding to a Thai local, nerdy dentist Stu ( Ed Helms) makes the near-fatal mistake of sharing what is supposed to be a quiet drink with his ‘‘ Wolf Pack’’ brethren ( all pictured) Phil ( Bradley Cooper) and Alan ( Zach Galifianakis).
About 12 hours later, the best buds discover they have misplaced the bride-to-be’s beloved younger brother.
The only clue they have to go on is the teenager’s severed finger found in an ice bucket.
Though few would deny the Hangover effect has lost some of its capacity to surprise, the chemistry and comic stylings of its three leads are effective enough to keep the right amount of big laughs coming.
The new film is definitely no match for its predecessor. Even the franchise’s most ardent admirers would acknowledge that whenever The Hangover Part II is getting down to repeat business, which eats up more screen time than many would like, some of the love in the room disappears.
Once again, the best lines belong to the bearded weirdo Alan, now getting around with a shaven head and a chainsmoking monkey as his new best friend.
The ridiculous Asian ‘‘ gangsta’’ Mr Chow ( Ken Jeong) has a larger influence on the story than before, while the sole new cast addition of note is Barney’s Version star Paul Giamatti as a ruthless crime lord.
Rumours of a cameo appearance by former US president Bill Clinton turn out to exactly that – rumours.
But what can be believed as reliable word-of-mouth is that The Hangover Part II will not leave fans with a sore head or a sorry frame of mind.
Director: Todd Phillips ( The Hangover) Stars: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti.
Thai-ing on another one