This third and final entry in the Hangover franchise tries to veer outside of the familiar formula set forth by the first and second films, but in doing so, it deviates from the raucous nature that made the earlier efforts so appealing. Check out our full review after the break.
This time around the focus is more on Alan (Zach Galifianakis) as his increasingly erratic behavior and his refusal to take his meds has led his family and friends to orchestrate an intervention. Phil (Bradley Cooper,) Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) agree to drive Alan to a treatment center, but like most of the plans made by the “Wolfpack,” something goes terribly wrong. Before they can even make it to their destination, their vehicle is driven off the road by pig-masked thugs and the four are taken to a mobster by the name of Marshall (John Goodman.) He holds their buddy Doug for ransom with plans to kill him unless the rest of the “Wolfpack” can find their old cohort Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) and deliver him to Marshall alive.
The second film in the franchise was roundly criticized for being too close in structure to the first. The Hangover Part III tries to be something different. It’s more of a conventional action caper than an over-the-top comedy, but this works to its own detriment. Much of the blame lies in the story focusing more on Alan and less on the rest of the “Wolfpack.” Cooper and Helm’s characters take a backseat to much of the antics of Galifianakis’ Alan which hurts the picture immensely. There’s not enough there to sustain a whole movie based on Alan’s weird remarks and odd behavior. Even Mr. Chow seems subdued compared to his participation in the earlier films.
Personally, I miss the ridiculous moments that are usually associated with a “Hangover” movie. Killing giraffes and chickens don’t count. This film has so many missed opportunities, when it comes to adding some true craziness to the proceedings. In the film they take a trip to Tijuana, which could have been a perfect breeding ground for comedic ideas, but other than breaking into a mansion, nothing outrageous happens. Even a cocaine and hooker party at Chow’s Caesars Palace suite in Vegas comes off looking pretty tame compared to the bizarre and demented event it deserves to be. The film is rife with such comedic disappointment.
On the other hand, director and co-writer Todd Phillips does a good job of tying all the films together with Part 3. We find that one simple action by Alan in the first film led to the events of this film. There are cameos by previous characters such as Stu’s ex-wife Jade (Heather Graham,) her kid (who was a baby in the first one) and “Black Doug” (Omar Epps.) There’s also a few funny lines that mention their previous adventures, especially when Phil makes a veiled reference to Stu’s Bangkok sexual escapade from the second outing. Unfortunately, these elements serve as reminders of how much fun the first two films were as opposed to the uneven mess of this one.
Sadly, the funniest bit in the whole new movie takes place in a quick scene that happens about a minute or two into the credits. A scene that apes the initial shocking revelations of the previous two efforts. That small part is a better third Hangover movie than the rest of this half-hearted, sober attempt to make the last film in the franchise something new.
The Hangover Part III is playing at a theater near you.