| Nothing is off limits when it comes to getting laughs as we welcome back the "Wolfpack." Director Todd Phillips ("Old School" and "Road Trip") is joined by screenwriters Craig Mazin and Scott Armstrong ("The Heartbreak Kid" and "School for Scoundrels") in this highly anticipated sequel to the most successful R-rated comedy of all time.
The returning characters created by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore include conservative and straight-laced Doug (Justin Bartha from "National Treasure"), high school teacher Phil (Bradley Cooper from "Limitless" and "Alias"), dentist Stu (Ed Helms from "Cedar Rapids" and "The Office") and Doug's nutcase brother-in-law Alan (stand-up comedian Zach Galifianakis, who became a breakout star from the original movie and has since appeared in "Dinner for Schmucks," "It's Kind of a Funny Story," "Due Date" and "Bored to Death").
Phillips plays it safe by relying on the motto "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." He gives the fan base exactly what they liked in the original, sticking to a successful formula. Without the surprise element, Phillips turns to raunchier and more explicit gags in the "can you top this" department. Audiences may find certain parts of this wild ride utterly distasteful.
This follow-up takes place two years after Doug's wacky bachelor party in Las Vegas. This time around, Stu is getting married to the lovely Lauren (Jamie Chung from "Sucker Punch" and "Grown Ups") in her native Thailand.
Stu is playing it safe with a pre-wedding brunch at IHOP. He invites only Phil and Doug to join him for pancakes. Doug mentions that Alan is hurt he hasn't been invited to the wedding. He convinces Stu to personally invite his self-described "stay-at-home" brother-in-law.
The boys hit the ground running when they arrive at the airport for their 16-hour flight.
We are introduced to Teddy (Mason Lee), Lauren's 16-year-old brother bordering on genius, who is studying pre-med at Stanford.
Teddy is the prize possession of Stu's soon-to-be father-in-law Fohn (Nirut Sirichanya).
Fohn views Stu with disdain and considers him not good enough for his precious daughter Lauren.
At the pre-wedding dinner, Alan proves once again to be a loose cannon and regains the moniker of being the most outrageously crazy screen personality since John Belushi of "Animal House" fame.
Following dinner, Phil suggests that the "Wolfpack" along with Teddy celebrate on the beach with a bonfire.
Things go terribly awry when Alan, Phil and Stu wake up the next day in a trashed, insect-infested fleabag hotel room. They discover Teddy's ring finger complete with Stanford ring attached and badass Asian gangster Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong from "Community") sleeping under a bunch of blankets.
As famous philosopher George Santayana observed, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Chaotic mayhem breaks out as they frantically search for Teddy.
Alan, Phil, Stu and Mr. Chow carve out a special comedy niche that will not be easily forgotten. They operate like a well-oiled machine with perfect comedic timing and a contagious form of winning camaraderie in this madcap romp. The clever lines of dialogue will be on everyone's lips after repeated viewings. Those easily offended by crude and foul language should stay away.
The movie exceeds expectations and will appeal primarily to men 17 to 37.
The cinematography from director of photography Lawrence Sher makes effective use of the colorful scenic background of Thailand. Christophe Beck returns as composer and has chosen a wide variety of pop culture songs for the soundtrack.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"