THE HANGOVER: PART III
***1/2 (out of 5)
May 23, 2013
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
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“The Hangover” was one of those movies that was funny enough but not really worth the insane hype that surrounded it. I enjoyed the film, and I watched it a couple times later on home video, but I have never felt the need to revisit it after that. Unfortunately, “The Hangover: Part II” happened, and I ended up revisiting it.
What always bothered me about “The Hangover: Part II” was it’s extreme lack of creativity. The first movie was mean-spirited and raunchy, but it was something different in the cinema landscape. The sequel was just a retread of the first film, only switching a few plot points around and having it take place in Bangkok rather than Las Vegas.
What immediately attracted me to “The Hangover: Part III” was the fact that it wasn’t meant to copy either film preceding it. Oddly enough, it’s not a great feat of creativity, but at least it represented some actual work by the people making the movie.
In this installment, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) are on their way to Arizona to check Alan (Zach Galifianakis) into rehab. On the way, they’re taken hostage by Marshall (John Goodman), a ruthless gangster who is trying to track down Chow (Ken Jeong), who has stolen millions of dollars from him. Marshall keeps Doug hostage, leaving the Wolf Pack on a wild goose chase to Tijuana and Las Vegas to find Chow.
Okay, I’ll admit this whole set-up seems rather forced. However, I don’t mind the extra effort in light of the derivative second film. Plus, it shows a bit of creativity by the writers, and to a certain degree I found the storyline to be interesting enough to carry me from joke to joke and gag to gag.
The worst part of the film is the first ten minutes, which is spoiled by the trailers and excruciating to watch for its caustic characters and rough delivery. However, once the story starts rolling and we find what’s driving the action, things smooth out a bit.
The “Hangover” movies have always been about the raunchy humor and the shenanigans of the characters. In particularly, they’ve become a spotlight for folks like Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong. So, if you don’t like either of these guys, you’ll want to sit this one out. Other stars of the film like Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms take a back seat to the more extreme characters.
Fortunately, I happen to think Jeong is hilarious. He steals pretty much every scene that he’s in, and those scenes are more numerous than we saw in the previous movies. Galifianakis wears a bit thin, with his characters taking a nastier turn than the loveable imp from the previous movies. Still, he manages to balance enough with Jeong that he’s just barely over-used.
In Hollywood, the conventional wisdom says to make a sequel bigger and more extreme than its predecessor, and that’s what happened in the second movie, what with characters losing body parts and featuring Bangkok ladyboys with all their pieces parts. I liked the fact that this movie didn’t necessarily try to out-do the first two films. It just went in its own direction, for better or for worse, and delivered some choice moments that I couldn’t help but laugh during.
I’m not hoping that “The Hangover: Part IV” is going to happen any time soon (however, if the movie makes enough money over Memorial Day weekend, that’s a sure bet). Though I wouldn’t hate it if they give it the same treatment as Part III.