Deja Booze

It’s safe to say that if you liked “The Hangover” you will like “The Hangover Part II;” after all, it is more or less the same exact film.

Director Todd Phillips hasn’t tried very hard to veer from the original’s high-grossing formula: Best friends Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha), along with bearded outsider Alan (Zach Galifianakis), get together on the eve of a wedding, only to wake up the next morning in a trashed hotel room with no recollection of the hijinks of the previous night (though they are left with plenty of sordid clues, including a severed finger, a monkey and a facial tattoo). The only difference is that the groom-to-be is straight-laced dentist Stu, and the setting has been moved from Las Vegas to the more scenic Thailand.

Various other plot elements remain: There’s the opening phone call to a distressed bride, followed by a flashback to what led to the drink-that-started-it-all; there’s a quest to find a missing friend, whose ultimate location isn’t as dire as “The Wolfpack” initially feared; and there are deals-gone-wrong with various crime lords.

But even with a plot line that’s inherently unoriginal, “The Hangover Part II” still manages plenty of laughs, particularly in the beginning, before the film goes the over-the-top action-comedy route and starts to lose steam. Problem is, we’ve seen these guys screaming at each other in the midst of car chases before — the second time around, the laughs don’t hit nearly as hard.

Admittedly, Phillips tries to give the movie some spark, filming it more like an action movie than a buddy-comedy. He does well with the foreign location, using slick cinematography to capture the grit of Bangkok. As Kanye West’s “Monster” pounds over aerial shots of the country, it hardly feels like the raunchy comedy the “R” rating promises it will be.

The actors jump into their old roles well, though like he did in the original film, Galifianakis steals the show with his brand of so-awkward-it-hurts humor. Cooper is mostly disposable and Helms certainly tries hard: The actor squeals like a girl with a grimace-inducing commitment, playing the character so unhinged that you don’t even bother to pity him.

The comedy relies a lot more on shock value than straight-up jokes — a questionable choice, considering the least-raunchy scenes ended up being the funniest. Galifianakis’ Alan showing his “three best friends” around his room, ordering his mother to bring him dessert over a P.A. system and explaining his role as a “stay- at-home son” — all before the guys even hop on the plane to Asia — is far more hilarious than the chicks-with-dicks (seriously) detour the film ultimately takes. (B)