Film Review | The Hangover Part III
There are some films which simply don’t need sequels, but these days it’s increasingly likely that studios will green-light follow-ups after a successful first outing. Such was the case with The Hangover (2009); the film struck a tone with cinemagoers, but spawned a lacklustre sequel. Director Todd Phillips and co are back for The Hangover Part III (2013), and whilst it’s a slightly better entry than its predecessor, the third (and final?) instalment still lacks the spark of the original.
It’s been two years since the events in Bangkok, and friends Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Doug (Justin Bartha) are enjoying domesticity. The same can’t be said for Alan (Zach Galifianakis), whose already disturbing behaviour takes a turn for the worse after a family tragedy. Staging an intervention to convince their friend to get the help he needs, the ‘Wolfpack’ are on a road trip when they get ambushed by Marshall (John Goodman), a gangster who has a vendetta against Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong). Doug is promptly taken hostage, and it’s up to Phil, Stu, and Alan to find the elusive Chow before their friend is killed.
Thus, with Part III of the Hangover cycle, the much-maligned Phillips and co-writer Craig Mazin have wisely altered the formula inherent in the previous instalments, with a storyline that revolves around Galifianakis’ Alan. Unsurprisingly, most of the laughs come from his oddball behaviour, and as always Galifianakis throws himself wholeheartedly into the role. In addition, Part III also does a good job of connecting plot threads from the previous two films, and cameos from Heather Graham’s stripper-turned-mom Jade and Mike Epps’ Black Doug are welcome inclusions to the narrative. Outside of Galifianakis’ man-child, however, chuckles are in depressingly scarce supply.
There are one or two scenes which induce laughter, but the best gags have already been revealed in the trailers, and are few and far between. Furthermore, the decision to promote Jeong’s Chow from cameo to central character is a gross misfire, and The Hangover Part III is clear proof that the actor’s shtick is wearing off. The fact that his greatly increased screentime comes at the expense of Helms and Cooper makes him doubly frustrating, as the shift in focus means at times it’s difficult to see why we fell in love with these characters in the first place.
For franchise newcomers then, this third entry will be especially disappointing. Avid fans who are eager to see how the Hangover saga ends may well end up enjoying Part III, and there are a few in-jokes to that effect. But whilst the series started with howls of laughter, all it can muster on its final bow are short, involuntary giggles. A post-credits scene hints at the possibility of another instalment, but perhaps it would be a better idea to disband the Wolfpack for good.
Good review man. The movie does not even try to be funny one bit, and even when it tries to go for laughs, nothing works. Just a bore of a movie.
May 24, 2013 at 3:57 pm
Thanks. Was definitely bored watching this one for the most part. Watched the first 30 minutes of the first one after writing review, it’s really good! You can add this franchise to the list of films which didn’t need sequels…
May 24, 2013 at 4:12 pm
Ouch! Can’t wait to see this mess.
May 24, 2013 at 7:32 pm
I think I laughed loudly maybe three times. Was actually bored at one point.
May 24, 2013 at 9:27 pm
Great review – my fears are confirmed! Not surprised this isn’t the best movie – shoulda stopped at the first one!! At least this looks like the end…
May 25, 2013 at 4:04 am
Thanks! Yup, this is one to avoid…
May 25, 2013 at 5:19 am
I’m kind of a masochist, so I’ll see this one. I loved the first one and absolutely loathed the second. Maybe this one won’t be so bad?
May 25, 2013 at 6:23 am
It’s a Hangover film in which no character has a hangover. ‘Nuf said.
May 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm
May 26, 2013 at 7:12 pm
Hey Amon, I did a review of this film myself at http://www.thomasjford.wordpress.com. It really is an abomination of a movie. As was the second film. So much so that I now doubt I ever found the first film funny!
November 11, 2013 at 10:05 am