The Hangover Part III Review
by Gabriel “Big Gabe” Alcantara
Directed by Todd Phillips
Cast: Bradly Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha and John Goodman
Maybe in some alternate universe, the film The Hangover exists as a great stand alone comedy with no crummy sequels. Sadly, in our universe, there are two.
I attended the Los Angeles premiere of The Hangover Part III and since I am nobody special in that part of town, I had to stand in line (which wrapped around the corner, away from the red carpet and all of the festivities) like the hundreds of other people who got their passes online. The waiting period between standing there like a schmuck and entering the theater was about 3 ½ hours, plenty of time to wonder what I’m doing with my life and too much time waiting to see what I thought would be another mediocre sequel. Well, at least I was able to hang out with my We Live Film buddies, MovieManCHAD and Jose Romero from RMN. Plus we met up with Josh the Intern of Schmoes Know and Derek Easley of GameFob Network. Oh, yeah, I give shoutouts in my written reviews. That’s how I roll.
Okay, it’s plot synopsis time… as if anybody gives a shit. Then again, you are READING a review which may imply you enjoy reading… Anyway…
Alan (Galifianakis) refuses to take his meds and has become too much of an immature, selfish, spoiled brat with too many mental issues for his family and friends to handle. So the rest of the Wolfpack; Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms) and Doug (Bartha) come up with an intervention plan that involves driving Alan to a hospital where he’ll be treated for his problems. During the road trip, the gang is hijacked by Marshall (Goodman), a ruthless gangster in search of the notorious Leslie Chow (Jeong). In what seems to be a running gag of the series, Doug is once again separated from the group but this time he is kidnapped by Marshall and his thugs and held captive until the Wolfpack finds their elusive, criminal acquaintance. Sounds more like a crime thriller than a comedy but oh, well.
The first film in the Hangover series was comedy gold. It had the perfect balance of comedic brilliance, shenanigans and insanity. It had the right amount of physical comedy but relied mostly on well written and improvised dialogue from its likable characters. It was like magic. It’s a film that will be remembered for decades to come and its legacy should not have been tampered with by making a sequel. However, a sequel was made and many would tell you that it was a cash grab that recycled most of the material from the first film but set the story in a different location. Oh, plus it wasn’t that funny. I felt the same way as many did however, it wasn’t all that bad. It was watchable, just not that funny.
Alright, now that we got all that retrospect crap outta the way, let’s get into the third and final (*cough* yeah right *cough*) film of the series….
It sucks…. Okay, it doesn’t suck entirely but I can’t say it’s a hell of a lot better than the second film. It does deserve credit for going against the usual formula that normally has the boys throwing a bachelor party, getting wasted and waking up the next day trying to figure out what happened the previous night. This film is mostly of a caper film that sends the Wolfpack on a manhunt for Chow. Once they find him, they must steal some already stolen gold. Of course, they still have to get back Doug and hope they don’t all get killed. It’s starting to feel very weird that I’m talking about a comedy. It might as well be classified as an action-adventure or a thriller. Although, the adventure aspect of the film is entertaining to watch, the film as a whole is more amusing than funny.
I’m not a laugh-out-loud kind of guy but I do hope to be caught off guard when I watch a comedy. I mostly just chuckled while watching Todd Phillips’ third Hangover film. Most of the film’s punchlines and situations felt forced and at times, like in the second film, things get a little dark and it doesn’t suit the tone of the film. One gag that’s not meant to be dark but I found it disturbing involves a giraffe getting its head decapitated by a freeway overpass. I’m sorry but I don’t find violence towards animals very funny, especially the way it was done in this film since the incident causes a fatal looking car accident. Yeah, not funny. Not to me, anyway.
Some of the actors didn’t seem too enthusiastic about reprising their roles. Bradley Cooper is a good example of that. Cooper has become quite the credible actor with films like The Place Beyond the Pines and his Oscar nominated role in Silver Linings Playbook. Now, I’m not opposed to credible actors starring in comedies at all but Cooper doesn’t seem to be into the role of Phil like he was in the original. Ed Helms seems a bit tired of the series as well. He just kind of stumbles around as he’s constantly insulted by Alan, which gets annoying quite fast. I’m actually having a hard time remembering a single funny thing Ed Helms said in this movie. The trio just doesn’t seem to have that great chemistry they once had.
The film focuses heavily on Zach Galifianakis’ and Ken Joeng’s characters, Alan and Mr. Chow; two characters I believe are better as supporting roles rather than primary focuses. In the first film, Alan is a lovable oddball who says and does the weirdest and craziest shit. Galifianakis played that role perfectly and had brilliant comedic timing. His antics came at the most unpredictable moments. Throughout the series, he’s become somewhat of a jerk and quite a stupid one at that. It’s like his brain is shrinking as the story goes. His antics now are constant and over barring. Yes, he has some funny lines, mannerisms and is involved in some crazy moments but I grew tired of his character after the second film and this third film didn’t help any. Mr. Chow, I never thought was that hilarious. Funny in small bursts, yes, but annoying as shit half of the time. In this film, you get to see what a real bad guy he is. He’s a criminal who he does some pretty awful things and he never quite redeems himself. Still, he has some funny moments that I chuckled at.
There are some bright spots of The Hangover Part III, such as a very exciting and funny stunt that takes place on the Cesar’s Palace hotel sign in Las Vegas. John Goodman, while being underused, was a great villain and I liked that they didn’t try to make him funny or likable. The film’s pace was better that Part II because I never felt bored or scummy. Yes, Part II made me feel scummy. The best and funniest scene, hands down, comes midway during the credits. Do not leave during the credits until that scene comes on, it’s funnier than the whole damn film.
The Hangover Part III is another mixbag sequel for the franchise and if this really is the final film, which I hope it is, it’s not a very fulfilling conclusion. It’s not without enjoyment, sure, but the film lacks genuine energy, it doesn’t offer anything new or anything memorable. A small part of me is disappointed because I was hoping to be surprised with a really good sequel but at the same time, I kind of knew this would be another cash grabbing misstep. Still, I’m sure it will please fans who love the first film and were excepting of the second one.
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5.