The fine folks at Axe invited the MANjr team to the Hangover 2 premiere at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood on Thursday. Traffic getting there was absolute madness and Hollywood Blvd was closed off for an elaborate red carpet setup. Screaming fans lined the streets before, during and after the movie. A bunch of people even stuck around to check out celebs leaving the after party.

It goes without saying that the first Hangover film was incredible. Going into the sequel, I had my doubts that the magic of the first movie could be repeated. I mean, I get that they’re in Bangkok this time, but could the second film be as explosively funny as the first without a wholesale rehash of all the same elements?

Without a doubt, Hangover 2 leaned heavily on the formula of the first movie, but it still held its own as an outrageous, gut-buster. So many elements were repeated, but you just had to allow it. You just had to roll with it and just have a good time.

The premise of the movie is that Stu’s getting married in Thailand, so the guys fly out for his big day. Couple days before the wedding, one beer turns into so much more, and after a time-lapse shot accelerates the clock, we pick back up with the same drunken haze memory loss that served as the starting point for the last film. The Wolfpack is left with a lot of questions, and they have to piece together the events from the previous night in order to get their shit together and make it back to the wedding on time.

It sounds all too familiar, to be sure, but it was still a fun ride. Todd Phillips made another gorgeous movie that combined sweet cinematic shots, great music, just enough action and extra-bizarre details from a risky, ridiculous and elaborate night out.

Ed Helms is still stressed, Bradley Cooper’s still the instigator, Justin Bartha’s still underdeveloped and Zach Galifianakis steals most of the scenes (again). Add in some Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti, Jamie Chung and a quick dose of Tyson, and you got a well-rounded cast that can re-live familiar glory without slipping into tired staleness.

Hangover 2 succeeded for all the same reasons that the first one did. It keeps you engaged and hits you with constant doses of ludicrous laughs. It’s well paced, well cast and well put together.  If you’re looking for surprises, you won’t find any. But if you loved the first film, why not go for round two?

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