The Hangover Part III is admittedly much different than the other two but ultimately lifeless and a string of unused ideas cobbled together to make a third. The return to Vegas serves as no other purpose than to give the film some semblance of an end to the trilogy, and the trip to Tijuana is unremarkable. Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper seemingly come across as phoning it in and left much of the film’s humor to Zach Galifianakis’ stale caricature of Alan. The movie feels like the it drags the audience through a dull cat and mouse chase with Chow, which has very little challenge and no reward. The ideas are never fully realized on screen and this third installment never comes close to the laughs that made its predecessors funny even at its worst. For a series that has had so many outlandish and memorable moments, The Hangover Part III slumps away as the most forgettable in the franchise.
It’s been a few years but the Wolf Pack is finally back in one last adventure! The Hangover Part III hit theaters this past Thursday and aims to bring the trilogy to a close. Personally I’ve been silently rooting for this movie to make a triumphant come back after the disastrous second installment. The first one, although not perfect, featured tons of funny surprises, great laughs, and of course a brilliant chemistry among Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Bradley Cooper. Then came The Hangover Part II, which tried to copy the success of the first with a dark and raunchy clone of what made the first one such a hit in the first place. Even at it’s lowest The Hangover Part II still featured some genuine laughs, but unfortunately not much of the same can be said for The Hangover Part III.
After Alan (Zach Galifianakis) causes a major pile up on the highway, his father tries to talk some sense into him about taking responsibility but stubbornly Alan refuses to hear reason and inadvertently causes his dad to have a heart attack and die. Deciding enough is enough, Alan’s family decides it’s time for an intervention and are going to send Alan to get help. Alan agrees but only if the wolf pack takes him there for one last outing. Of course, nothing is ever simple for the Wolf Pack and they find themselves hunting down Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) for another criminal figurehead named Marshall (John Goodman).
To say I was apprehensive about this movie is an understatement, but I started to have a small sliver of hope once reports were coming in that the third outing would not follow the familiar paradigm of the first two films. Although I applaud it for succeeding in being different, there’s nothing here but lazy story telling, ideas that don’t fully connect on screen, and most importantly the lack of genuine laughs. Call backs to the previous films feel haphazardly thrown in and fresh faces like John Goodman are nothing more than name grabs for minor roles. For a series that has had some many outlandish and memorable moments, The Hangover Part III slumps away as the most forgettable movie of the franchise.
The gang travels to Tijuana and Las Vegas but neither of the outings are memorable. The reason for their trip to Tijuana could have taken place anywhere and it wouldn’t change the nature of the story in the slightest. Las Vegas feels shoehorned in just to give the movie some semblance of a finale to a trilogy and eventually becomes a chore once the gang begins the “I swore I’d never do this again,” type dialogue. Half the fun of the first two films were moving from location to location trying to piece together information, where as this one comes across as dragging us through a cat and mouse chase with Chow. I’m not lobbying for another fuzzy memory escapade, but it’s not even that much of a challenge to find Chow therefore there’s little to new satisfying reward by the movie’s end. The characters talk down and directly to the audience as they over explain their actions and plans. The mystery and fun is gone and we are treated with a location-hopping attempt that comes across as a paint by the numbers film with some action pieces thrown in.
The Hangover Part III is very Alan centric both in story and humor (more on that later). The movie tries to grow Alan’s character throughout the film but it doesn’t come across as fully developed as I would have liked. Much of Alan’s story never feels adequately intertwined with the find Chow plot and the two story lines often clash. It doesn’t help that Alan’s growth only comes in a very deus ex machina fashion and we only catch glimpses of this character change. Despite my love for Ken Jeong, the character of Chow has always been incredibly annoying to me and having him front and center of the story didn’t change that. Chow works best in segments but we are treated to more screen time with this obnoxious man whose humor is derived from racy and vulgar jokes. The movie ultimately comes across as conflicted on whether or not it wanted to have Chow or Alan as the main focus of the film, neither of which get the proper treatment it so desperately needs. Even though Chow and Alan have a lot of similarities worth comparing to show their character, the movie never achieves this on screen.
Having the gang concerned for the well being of Alan seemed like it was ripe for exploring but never reaches its full potential. You can see where they were going but much of the gang’s adventure ultimately comes across as set up for the extra scene during the credits, which admittedly was pretty funny but nothing more than fan service. The strive to put a bow on this trilogy makes the film feel as though references to the other two films were thrown in at every fitting chance. Jokes are based off, “remember when we did that,” and couldn’t be any more blatant than holding a flashing red sign on screen that says laugh now. If it’s not a walk down memory lane the jokes are nothing more than the low hanging fruit of animal cruelty and racial jokes. The rest of the film’s humor is carried by Alan, which has unsurprisingly hit a point of diminishing returns. Although Galifianakis is always a joy to watch on screen, the character of Alan has grown rather stale and moved from small chunks of innocent humor to a caricature of an “Oh that’s so Alan,” type show.
Another big set back is that the film feels so lifeless. A sequel to the first was pushing it but this final installment comes across as tired, and used up. There’s no charm to the characters that made them so interesting in the first, and there’s no wild adventure that made the second one laughable, it’s just a movie that feels cobbled together from unused ideas and money cash ins. I walked away from the film with the impression that both Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper were phoning it in this time. Their reactionary humor is mix between screaming at the absurdity and being over dramatic. It’s such a shame that the movie never feels like it hits a stride because the heart of each movie has always been the wonderful trio. However in this outing the trio feels segmented and never captures the spirit that helped keep the other two funny even at its worst.
The Hangover Part III is admittedly much different than the other two but ultimately lifeless and a string of unused ideas cobbled together to make a third. The return to Vegas serves as no other purpose than to give the film some semblance of an end to the trilogy, and the trip to Tijuana is unremarkable. Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper seemingly come across as phoning it in and left much of the film’s humor to Zach Galifianakis’ stale caricature of Alan. The movie feels like it drags the audience through a dull cat and mouse chase with Chow which has very little challenge and no reward. The ideas are never fully realized on screen and this third installment never comes close to the laughs that made its predecessors funny even at its worst. For a series that has had so many outlandish and memorable moments, The Hangover Part III slumps away as the most forgettable in the franchise.
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