The Hangover Part III ReviewPublished 9:30am Friday, May 31, 2013
by Lauren Bradshaw
I wish Hollywood would learn to leave well enough alone, especially in the case of great movies like The Hangover (2009). The Hangover is easily one of the most hysterical and original comedies of the past decade. Director Todd Phillips expertly crafted a non-linear storyline, full of hilarious characters and debaucherous situations. With the great box office and critical success of this “one-off” film, the studio (of course) decided to expand the concept into a trilogy. Unfortunately, like many other sequels, parts II and III of The Hangover series are so bad that they almost make me forget the brilliance of the first film. Not to mention, it’s pretty disappointing when the funniest part of a comedy is its poster (I think the reference to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is hilarious).
I went into The Hangover Part III with the hope that it would at least be better than The Hangover Part II. After all, it wouldn’t take much. Sadly, Part III is just as unoriginal as its predecessor. While it doesn’t follow the same flashback-esque storyline as the first two films, I don’t think there is a more formulaic plot than: someone takes money from drug kingpin, kingpin wants money back so he takes a loved one for collateral until his money is returned (Yawn). Part III is also the darkest movie in the franchise. As an animal lover, I don’t find many key “comedic” scenes funny, such as the decapitation of a giraffe by a highway overpass (as seen in the trailer) and the suffocation of a rooster that Mr. Chow uses in cockfights. It is bizarre that a movie franchise, which made its millions on light, crude humor, would end as a dark “comedy”.
Unlike the other two films, The Hangover Part III focuses mostly on Mr. Chow and Alan. In the wake of his father’s sudden death, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) has gone off of his medication and is spiraling out of control. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Doug (Justin Bartha) decide to stage an intervention and drive Alan to a treatment facility in order for him to get the help he needs. Meanwhile, Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) breaks out of a Thai prison and escapes back to North America to retrieve the gold he stole from drug kingpin Marshall (John Goodman).
Before the Wolfpack reaches Alan’s treatment facility, they are captured by Marshall’s goon squad and interrogated about their “friend” Mr. Chow. However, Marshall quickly realizes the fastest way to Chow is through the Wolfpack, so he keeps Doug as collateral and sets Phil, Stu, and Alan on a mission to track down his gold and, of course, bring him Leslie Chow.
I don’t enjoy giving any film starring the extremely talented Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Bradley Cooper a bad review. They are three of my favorite actors and I hate that their comedic talents are so underutilized in this film. On a positive note, they squeezed as much humor as they possibly could out of a dark script and, like in the other two movies, the three actors’ fraternal chemistry is the best part of the film; it wouldn’t surprise me if they were all best friends in real life. Unfortunately, this camaraderie will only get you so far.
While I normally enjoy watching Ken Jeong onscreen, many of his scenes in this film are so over-the-top, they aren’t funny, which is more a criticism of Phillip’s poor script than Jeong’s performance. These scenes perfectly illustrate the way in which The Hangover Part III tries to be hilarious, but instead, fall flat. For example, towards the end of the film, Mr. Chow parachutes out of Caesar’s Palace screaming about his love of cocaine; hint: this is supposed to be funny. I was surprised Phillips didn’t have him crash into Vegas’ Eifel Tower, as another attempt at cheap laughs.
As always, John Goodman and Melissa McCarthy were great in their supporting roles. McCarthy stole the scenes she was in, and played a quirky love interest for Galifianakis’ Alan. Although Goodman was also good in the role of a vengeful drug lord, any actor could have played this role. One exciting guest appearance, and an interesting trivia fact, is the reappearance of Carlos (the baby from the first film), who Jade (Heather Graham) has renamed Tyler. “Tyler” is played by the same child actor (Grant Holmquist) from the first film, though he is now about four years old. How cute is that?
If the filmmakers behind The Hangover Part III were trying to make the film’s content so disappointing that audiences wouldn’t want a Part IV, they succeeded. While I’m sure it will have a successful opening weekend, don’t let box office numbers fool you. Part III is by no means comparable to the original film, and will actually leave you with a bad taste in your mouth in regards to The Hangover franchise. Unlike Hollywood, leave well-enough alone and go see something else this Memorial Day weekend.
• If you DO decide to see the film, make sure you stay a bit through the credits in order to see a scene that will certainly make you nostalgic for the first film.
LAUREN BRADSHAW grew up in Courtland, graduated from Southampton Academy and doubled-majored in foreign affairs and history at the University of Virginia. She lives in the Washington, D.C., and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.