THE HANGOVER III
By Gary 'Drunken' Murray
Starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms
Written by Written by Todd Phillips and Craig Mazin
Directed by Todd Phillips
Running time 100 min
MPAA Rating R
Selig Film Rating Cable
The Hangover was a massive hit in 2009. The story of a wild night where everyone has no idea what happened is just the kind of ‘post frat boy’ antics a generation of film fan have either experienced or wanted to experience. The guys are on a search for the groom. It was hedonism at a base level.
The 2011 sequel was much of the same, with the boys losing their memories in a foreign land. One of the consistent elements with this Wolf Pack of crazed overgrown men-boys was the evitable appearance of Chow (Ken Jeong) the lowlife criminal who tends to be part of the catalyst for the adventure. Well, in the third installment of The Hangover, all are back in the fold.
The story takes place two years after the last event. The film opens with Chow breaking out of a prison much in The Shaw Shank Redemption mode. It is less than The Great Escape but an impressive display of special effects.
Three of the guys have settled down to a suburban lifestyle while Alan (Zach Galifianakis) still struggles to keep his head straight. As the movie starts, he’s transporting a giraffe back home on the freeway. Even though every one in the audience knows exactly what is going to happen, it generates the biggest reaction for about the next ninety minutes. Only the very ending tag brings bigger laughs.
Everyone decides that Alan needs to go into a facility to get help. He agrees (just to drive the plot along) and the four boys are on the open road to Arizona.
Almost immediately, they are attacked by a group of masked men. It seems that Marshall (John Goodman) is a gangster who lifted a giant cache of gold. Half of it was stolen by Chow. Since Chow is out of prison and on the run, Marshall figures that the Wolf Pack must know where he is hiding. Marshall captures Doug and gives the others three days to find Chow.
This leads the guys to Mexico where they cross paths with Chow. He tells them that the gold is hidden in a hilltop villa, behind a wall in the heavily fortified compound. Chow used to own the villa and figures that the gold is still behind the wall.
Our three stooges help Chow break in and steal the gold. But, the guys are double crossed. Eventually, they have to go back to where it all started, Las Vegas, to confront Chow and get back the ill-gotten bouillon. It leads to Caesar’s Palace.
Along the chase of Chow, the Wolf Pack meet up with Jade (Heather Graham) from their first adventure. They also meet Cassie (Melissa McCarthy) a woman who works at a 24 hour Cash for Gold store. The sparks between Cassie and Alan are weirdly instant, charming and funny. It is the only moment that works on an emotional level.
The film feels tired. On more than one occasion, the jokes are just forced. Where the first two adventures were about guys trying to piece together the night, this one is much more a chase flick. It is not like The Hangover II where it was more of the same but it still does not make a solid plot.
The producers of the work could not have done the same film over like they did in Part II. So they opted for a different formula. The new direction was needed to not be redundant, but the joy of these films is our guys finding out what happened to them, not the chase. The surprise that was in the original is just gone from this episode.
Of the three Wolf Pack leads only Zach Galifianakis shows any interest or growth. His Alan is a man/child who is facing inevitable adulthood and does not want to go gently into that good night. He gets the best comic lines and shows the best comic timing. The performance is truly the only reason to see The Hangover III.
Bradley Cooper as Phil seems to be taking this role as a massive paycheck. The Oscar nominated actor has proven that he can play different character and this role just seems as if he is re-treading. He has moved on as an actor and this is just a part of his past.
Ed Helms is wasted. The shtick that worked so well, that manic drive coupled with depraved instincts, is almost gone in this installment. He comes across more as an embarrassed with being on the screen than engaged in the process.
The Hangover III is a weak entry into the series. To be honest, there are only two great moments, one at the beginning and the other at the very end. The middle is a giant waste of time and money. This is supposedly the last entry to the series and it should be, we really don’t need another one. We really didn’t need a second one.