The Hangover Part III
A Little Too Sober
When The Hangover came out in 2009, it was a massive hit that even garnered some minor Oscar buzz, a rarity for a gross-out comedy. A lot of the credit had to go to the film’s clever device of having its three leads backtrack through a night of debauchery to figure out what happened to their missing friend. It was a clever plot device that helped the film standout from other comedies, but was kind of a one-shot deal, as evidenced by the sequel’s failure to repeat the formula. Now the Wolfpack is back for The Hangover Part III, a movie that purposely tries to go in a different direction from its predecessors, but may have ended up going just a little bit too far.
There’s no upcoming wedding this time; no bachelor party. Instead, the movie opens with an intervention. Following the death of his father, Alan’s friends and family decide it would be in his own interest that he admit himself into a mental health clinic. There’s no way he would agree to this, of course, unless Stu and Phil agree to drive him there.
Their road trip is rudely interrupted, however, when a gangster captures the gang and takes Doug hostage until they return his gold that was stolen by Mr. Chow, the crazy gambler the Wolfpack had run-ins with in the first two movies. Their pursuit of Chow and the stolen gold first takes them to Tijuana, before eventually leading them back to where it all started: Las Vegas.
Although the decision to try something new with the third (and supposedly final) chapter of the Hangover saga was a necessary one, returning writer/director Todd Phillips doesn’t really have any new tricks up his sleeve. Although there are definitely some funny moments spread throughout this movie, there is nothing in the plot to set it apart from the average gross-out comedy.
The actors, also, don’t really seem to have their full hearts in it this go-round. Bradley Cooper and, to a lesser extent, Ed Helms, really seem to have outgrown their roles and they spend most of this chapter sitting back and watching Zach Galifianakis do his thing. Galifianakis is again terrific as Alan and it’s therefore nice that he’s the character on which this movie most focuses. Most of the movie’s best moments are his, such as when he is reunited with young “Carlos” from the first movie or when he meets a possible love interest.
Along with the Wolfpack, the character who gets the most screentime in The Hangover Part III is Mr. Chow, again played by Ken Jeong. Once again, Jeong does not bring anything subtle to his role. As a result, he is okay in small batches, but given too much to do—such as here—he comes off mostly as annoying, with only a few good—admittedly, sometimes brilliant—comic moments spread throughout.
The Hangover Part III is a movie we all hoped could breathe some life back into the franchise, but unfortunately in attempting to be more original, it strayed a little too far from the formula that made the first movie such a success in the first place. The most “Hangover” moment in the movie doesn’t even come until the closing credits; a scene that is definitely worth hanging around to see. A standalone Alan movie could be interesting, but it may be time for the Wolfpack to retire from their usual shenanigans.
The Hangover Part III is rated R for “pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity.” Debauchery is abound in this appropriately rated comedy.
Courtesy of a local publicist, Jeff attended a promotional screening of The Hangover Part III