THE HANGOVER: PART III
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Bradley Cooper as PHIL
Ed Helms as STU
Zach Galifianakis as ALAN
Justin Bartha as DOUG
Ken Jeong as CHOW
John Goodman as MARSHALL
Melissa McCarthy as CASSIE
Heather Graham as JADE
Mike Epps as BLACK DOUG
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Todd Phillips
BY KEVIN CARR
After the painful retread of the first movie in “The Hangover: Part II,” I was not looking forward to “Part III” this past summer. However, upon seeing it, I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, as I recently pointed out to a few friends, I liked “The Hangover: Part III” because it was everything the previous films wasn’t, which is to say, an original story.
This series gets a lot of hate from various people, yet it is one of the most successful R-rated franchises ever mad, so someone out there is watching it. Admittedly, fewer people watched the third film than the second film, but that is something I attribute to people’s delayed annoyance with “Part II.”
Now the film is available on DVD and Blu-ray, and it gave me the chance to see if it holds up past the overblown hype and softer box office returns this summer. And I have to say, it does hold up. In fact, it holds up better than the first film does, in my opinion.
While “The Hangover: Part III” doesn’t have the freshness and unexpected surprises of the first film, it is a more mature film (at least in scope, because it remains as juvenile and silly as the first two). This is more Alan’s (Zach Galifianakis) story, focusing on his character that is circling the drain of self-destructiveness. His friendly relationship with Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) has gotten the Wolfpack in hot water again.
They’re kidnapped by a gangster (John Goodman) who is out for revenge against Chow for stealing $21 million in gold from him. Once again, Doug (Justin Bartha) is pulled from the line-up, this time as a hostage. This leaves Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan to track down Chow and make things right.
There’s plenty of unpredictability to this film because it doesn’t duplicate the plot points of the previous films. Additionally, we see a modicum of growth in Alan, who has recently lost his father, who represents his green light to be an idiot manchild into his 40s. Not to say that “The Hangover: Part III” is a deep character piece, but there’s more to Alan than just being the goofball. He is linked into the Leslie Chow web, and the story develops by his actions to help his friends – whether they be normal people like Stu and Phil or insane gangsters like Chow.
“The Hangover: Part III” also retains the zany action sequences and the ridiculous set-pieces that don’t feel forced into an existing structure. The film is a breezy 100 minutes, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome, which most films with Galifianakis and Jeong as centerpieces tend to do.
Ultimately, though, your interest in “The Hangover: Part III” is going to be tied to how much you can tolerate Galifianakis and Jeong. I’m okay with either of them, and surprisingly they make a good team. Now, if we can just find a way to fold Rafi from “The League” into the team, and you’ll have the most deliciously dysfunctional Three Stooges act known to man.
Like the previous “Hangover” Blu-ray releases, this one comes with a DVD of the film and streaming capabilities (Warner Bros.’s current choice of UltraViolet for this one). There are no huge features on this, but about 45 minutes of bonus content. Some is whimsical in-jokes, including “Replacing Zach: The Secret Auditions” which show the hunt for a new actor to play Alan and “Inside Focus: The Real Chow” which profiles Ken Jeong as a fake personality of Leslie Chow for realz.
Additional “real” featurettes include “The Wolfpack’s Wildest Stunts,” “Zach Galifianakis in His Own Words,” “Pushing the Limits” and “Action Mash-Up.” There’s also about two minutes of extended scenes and a seven-minute outtakes reel.