The Hangover III (**)
Directed by Todd Philips
Running Time 100 minutes
Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, John Goodman, Heather Graham, Melissa McCarthy and Justin Bartha
(Movie House Dublin Road Preview 22/05/2013)
WHEN people think of cinematic trilogies it’s usually Star Wars or Lord of the Rings that first come to mind not the Hangover movies, but with the release of the third instalment in the series we now have the concluding chapter in the wolf pack trilogy and love them or hate them you sadly can’t deny the box-office success of the antics of Phil, Stu and Alan, with all three films grossing more than a billion dollars worldwide.
Few who watched the 2009 original would have ever imagined it would go to produce two further sequels. Comedy sequels usually offer diminished returns and if truth be told the antics of three groomsmen searching for their lost groom after a hectic night in Las Vegas never really warranted a sequel, let alone a third instalment.
This time around we see Zach Galifianakis’ character Alan becoming increasingly out of control. When his antics on a freeway involving the death of a giraffe leads to his father’s fatal heart attack, Alan’s friends and family step in to try to get him under control. Phil (Bradley Copper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) agree to drive Alan to a clinic in Arizona to get professional help. But while en route their car is ambushed by John Goodman’s mob-boss character Marshall and everything starts to kicks into gear.
He forcibly enlists their help in tracking down Ken Jeong’s character Chow, who has returned to America after breaking out of a high security prison in true Shawshank Redemption style. It conspires that as a direct result of the antics of the wolf pack in the first movie, Chow was able to steal nearly $21 million dollars worth of gold from Marshall and the mob boss wants his loot returned. Taking Doug as leverage he gives them three days to track Chow down and retrieve his gold.
Credit must go to the writers this time for at least trying to come up with an original story, the previous instalment’s plot was nothing more than a lazy rehash of the original with only the crudeness levels severely ramped up. This instalment plays out more like a crime thriller in the mould of Ocean’s Eleven, with not a single hangover insight. Everything’s held together by a threadbare narrative simply designed to get the trio from Arizona to Tijuana then back to Las Vegas.
When the funniest moment in the feature is a post-credits sequence it doesn’t really bode well for the rest of the movie, it’s simply not that funny with many of the gags already showcased in the film’s numerous trailers. Once again the female characters get very little to do onscreen, Heather Graham’s reprisal of her small role from the original is utterly pointless and Melissa McCarthy’s character Cassie gets only limited laughs as a possible love interest for Alan.
The strangest thing about the film is the strange sense of sentimentality and nostalgia that creeps in as it reaches its finale. Considering what a male dominated, boys-own adventure the series has been to date, the sudden tonal change seems terribly out-of-place.
As someone who’s far from a fan of the Hangover movies, this film was never really going to be my cup of tea. It perfectly demonstrates the laziness that has crept into Hollywood producers of late, the only reason it exists is because the series has produced strong box-office returns, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an enjoyable viewing experience. At it’s best this is a movie best seen as nothing more than a cinematic box ticking exercise by those involved.
Review by William McClean