To all those lambasting Todd Phillips' followup to the most successful R-rated comedy in movie history — what do you want Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug to do, change their blacked-out ways and move to Swaziland to start digging wells for needy villagers? The dangling carrot of box-office millions notwithstanding, The Hangover Part II was made for one big, easy reason: There was still plenty of crass, infantile and uproarious material left to wring out of numero uno.
Yep, this loud, shortsighted and satisfying (in a Snickers bar kinda way) sequel, which sees the crew flying to Thailand for the wedding of Stu and his fiancée Lauren (Ed Helms and Jamie Chung), is only a slightly tweaked version of the 2009 original. Swap Vegas for Bangkok. Swap missing man Doug (Justin Bartha) for sweet little Teddy (Mason Lee), Lauren's little brother. Keep neurotic dentist Stu, Type A dickbag Phil (Bradley Cooper), one-liner machine Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and the wholly racist caricature that is Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) exactly the same, because that whole mess worked the first time. (Galifianakis stole the first one, but this here is Helms' movie — he flips his shit better than anybody in the business, and the Mike Tyson face tattoo does nothing but help.) Add a nicotine-addicted monkey and Paul Giamatti.
Is it safe and lazy? Absolutely, but we should be thankful that Phillips didn't cave to the natural pressure to go all New Coke on a simple formula that begets surefire results. If The Hangover Part III is greenlit, then we'll talk, but II is the perfect, brain-rottingly amoral way to kick off the summer movie season.