Who's In It: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti, Jamie Chung, Sasha Barrese, Crystal the Monkey
The Basics: I think the screenwriting process for the film went like this: Take the one-page summary from the first film, white-out key nouns (like Vegas, roof and Rohypnol), then replace them with new ones. Presto! Your game of Cinematic Mad Libs is complete and you get to roll around in your big piles of money. Stu (Helms) is the one getting married this time (apparently it didn't work out with Heather Graham -- oops, spoiler), and he's making his boys travel to Thailand for his second wedding. Although he is specifically trying to avoid another "incident," one happens anyway and they find themselves in Bangkok. You know the rest.
What's The Deal: If you liked the first one, you'll like this one for reasons already listed--it's the same movie, just with different details plopped in place of the previous ones. The backdrop of Thailand in this movie offers a stark contrast between "We Are Happy Affluent People Getting Married" Land versus "We Are Depraved Criminals With Face Tattoos" Town. As a result, the movie feels harder and scarier, although since the template is exactly the same, even the most gullible moviegoer will know what's going to happen at MOST every turn. There are a few great surprises here that will have everyone talking, so see it early. Ultimately, since there is nowhere to go with the premise, this was at least a good exercise in upping the ante enough to make for a good holiday weekend film.
Monkeys + Clothes = Laff Riot: So, instead of Mike Tyson's tiger, this flick stars a monkey named Crystal. She wears a Rolling Stones vest better than anyone did in 1971, and as you can see in the trailer, she clings ferociously to cars and shoulders, and she even does a Monica Lewinsky impersonation in a Thai bus. Putting a monkey in a movie is a layup, because who can resist its teeny tiny charms? It thinks it's people. But ultimately it's just another example of this movie cleverly reeling the viewer in and tricking them into thinking they're watching something fresh and exciting, when we've really seen it before. I can't fault it for being shrewd, because it's like a trophy wife: It knows it has to get in while the getting's good.
Some Delightful Random Details: There are a couple of peculiar and delightful nods to Billy Joel--such an incongruous choice, like a monkey wearing a jean vest. Oh. Anyway, Zach Galifaniakis gets his time in the sun (as expected, since his character was so beloved in the first). His straw hats and pronunciation of Thailand is always good for a chuckle. And Chow (Jeong) in this film, always impossible to ignore, makes short robes and sunglasses the look of the summer. Also, the addition of Buddhist monks to the plot is a nice touch.