US Release Date: 05-23-2013
Directed by: Todd Phillips
- Bradley Cooper, as
- Ed Helms, as
- Zach Galifianakis, as
- Justin Bartha, as
- Ken Jeong, as
- Mr. Chow
- John Goodman, as
- Melissa McCarthy, as
- Jeffrey Tambor, as
- Heather Graham, as
- Mike Epps, as
- Black Doug
- Sasha Barrese, as
- Jamie Chung, as
- Sondra Currie, as
- Gillian Vigman, as
- Oliver Cooper as
- Pharmacy Assistant
Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha and Bradley Cooper in The Hangover III.
Remember your first hangover? If you're lucky it followed a memorable night that you will remember forever. By your third hangover however, they started to become a little annoying and filled with regret. The same could be said about this movie series. The first film was fresh and funny. It was about a wild night in Vegas, but it also had a smidgen of heart as it showed a group of grown men escaping the responsibility of life and bonding together over a memorable night. What little heart and characterization there was for the characters however, is long gone, sacrificed for the jokes as Cooper and Helms are only there to play straight men to Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong.
Following the criticism that the second film was merely a remake of the first, the script this time around jettisons the Hangover idea. Instead, the Wolfpack are hijacked during a road trip to take Alan (Galifianakis) to an institution for his increasingly annoying behavior. A mobster (Goodman) arranges for them to be picked up because he wants them to track down Chow who stole $21 million in gold from him. To force them to do what he wants, he holds Doug hostage while they go in search of Chow. Their trip takes them to Mexico and then, inevitably, back to where the series began, Las Vegas.
While the events of the first film were completely implausible, they almost seemed possible. You had a group of normal guys having one wild weekend. Any sense of reality however, is long gone from the series, thanks mainly to the over-the-top antics of Chow who now dominates the film. He does provide laughs, but is best served in small doses. He should only be a supporting character, not the star. The same is true of Galifianakis's Alan. He has been the main source of humor in the series, but he works best when he's playing off the realistic characters of Phil and Stu. Although to be fair to him, he does remain funny. He has an awkward and very unsexy scene with Melissa McCarthy and a nice little scene with the four year old, who was the baby in the first film.
Cooper, who has become the breakout star from this series, has since moved on to more serious films. His part here is a thankless one and he seems stiff as if he's embarrassed to be back in this part. Somehow I doubt we'll be seeing him in a fourth. If he does return, maybe he should take over Justin Bartha's role, who makes the easiest money ever for these films as he's absent for most of them.
There are some easy laughs here, but they feel increasingly cheap. Almost everything that made the first film so special now feels old and rehashed. It's past time for this series to end.
John Goodman, Ed Helm, Zack Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper in The Hangover Part III
A Scott wrote, the formula for the original film's success was that some grown men grew over the course of a day, discovering what they did together over an eventful night. Chow and Alan were around for supporting comedic relief. Stu learned that his intended was not for him. Phil was there for a brief vacation from his responsibilities. Alan was just a tag along who was good for some WTF moments. Here, he takes center stage and the franchise loses what little sense of reality it had.
In the first film, Alan was a friendless social pariah. His story arc was that he bonded with Phil, Stu and Doug. In this third installment, Alan is an unlikable idiot. Within the first five minutes, he kills a giraffe and his father. I watched in horror as Alan made his father so upset that he had a heart attack and died right behind Alan, who does not hear his mother's plea for help because he is wearing headphones. Later, Alan tells the four year old, whom he carried around as a baby in the first film, that he is his father. How and why am I supposed to root or care for a person who is so selfishly destructive to others?
When did these films become so dark? In the first one, crap happens to the wolf pack because Alan put drugs in their drinks, but no one else is seriously harmed because of his stupidity. Here, Chow and Alan are responsible for human and animal deaths. In one scene, Alan says something so annoying to Stu that Stu should have knocked Alan on his fat ass. It would have been very appropriate and I would have cheered.
For some reason, the writers made Alan untouchable. He never feels remorse for anything he does. He lied at his father's funeral. He is so stupid as to impede the wolf pack every step of the way. Stu and Phil showing up for Alan's intervention is ridiculous. You would think that both would have learned to stay as far away from Alan as humanly possible. He provides nothing but trouble to anyone who gets close to him. I do not remember the last time I so actively hated a movie character.
Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, and Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover Part III.
I can't say I actively hated Alan but I understand where Eric is coming from. This annoying man-child behaves atrociously 99% of the time. He dominates the movie at the expense of the other members of the Wolf Pack. At times it's more like the Alan and Chow show than a Hangover movie. And, as my brothers wrote, those two characters are best taken in small doses. They are comic sidekicks acting as leading men.
I'm glad they altered the formula at least. It gives the ending a sense of closure. With any luck we won't be seeing these guys again. I really hope they keep it at a trilogy. It is definitely past closing time for the franchise.
These guys have been through it all together. Over the course of the series they've gone from being fairly sheltered suburbanites to hardened soldiers of fortune. At this point nothing really shocks them. Or the audience for that matter.
John Goodman is always a pleasant addition to any movie. He brings a bit of gravitas to the role of the mobster whose gold Chow stole. His presence made me briefly think I was watching a Coen brothers' movie. Until the asinine storyline and bathroom humor reminded me otherwise.
The joy of the first 2 movies was the idea of these middle-aged guys having an unexpected adventure together, and then bonding while they worked together to solve the mystery of the events of the previous evening. As outlandish as they became they both maintained a sense of fun that this installment completely lacks. And gone is even the slightest modicum of plausibility.
From the 20 car pile-up caused by a decapitated giraffe head to the ridiculous final mid-credits scene The Hangover III is just plain mean-spirited. The script could have been written under the influence of alcohol and/or hallucinogens. Somebody should have given the writers some strong black coffee to sober them up.
Photos © Copyright Warner Bros. (2013)