I had hopes for The Hangover Part III, the conclusion to director Todd Phillips’ trilogy about a group of guys who get into a lot of R-rated trouble after ingesting bad stuff for their brains. In retrospect, I feel like a major idiot for having high hopes for this one.
The Hangover franchise, as it turns out, should’ve stopped at one movie. Phillips and his gang of actors captured comedic magic when an awkward bearded man drugged his buddies at a bachelor party, which led to them kidnapping Mike Tyson’s tiger and many other sordid acts.
The Hangover Part II was a carbon copy of that film shipped from Las Vegas to Thailand. It had about 15 percent of the original’s laughs, but, while being a supreme disappointment, it wasn’t a complete loss.
Part III is a total garbage movie, a film lacking any sense of purpose and woefully lacking in the laugh department.
Phillips tries to make a completely different sort of film with his final chapter, and he sort of succeeds in that while the first film had many laughs and the second had a few, this movie has just one or two.
It actually doesn’t even come off as a comedy. It’s crime thriller/kidnap movie, just about the last scenario we need to see the Wolf Pack (Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms) going through.
The movie starts with a giraffe beheading that I will actually count as one of the film’s laughs. It then moves into an intervention where Galifianakis’s Alan is told that he will be going away for a little while. Alan does some very awkward crying, and I laughed a little more.
Then the boys hit the road, and the laughter stops cold as if some sort of movie demon sprung from the ground and smacked the film over its head with his mighty “No Laughs Anymore” sledgehammer.
An evil crime lord (John Goodman) forces them off the road and introduces the moronic plot thread that this movie is really about: The search for Mr. Chow, played by the increasingly annoying Ken Jeong. Goodman kidnaps Doug (Justin Bartha) because he’s a boring character and writing anything interesting for him is a task, so let’s just get him off the screen, shall we?
The trio go on a search for Chow and regrettably find him. This leads to some nonsense involving stolen gold, a return to Vegas for a cocaine party, and some surprisingly violent moments involving guns.
This Hangover film has a pretty big body count, and that’s not something I expect from a Hangover film. I expect people humping tigers or the Helms character comically removing his pancreas with tweezers while on heroin.
There’s a sequence atop Caesars Palace in Vegas that looks cool, and Melissa McCarthy shows up for a not altogether terrible cameo. Galifianakis seems to be the only one in the trio really trying, with most of his shtick falling flat this time out. Cooper still plays an OK straight man, while Helms just seems lost this time out.
Phillips makes the mistake of thinking we actually give a crap and have some sort of sentimental connection to these characters. No doubt, I like these actors a lot, but the characters themselves? I didn’t need three films full of them doing the same thing over and over. Make another comedy, and cast these guys, but do something new with them. The Hangover was a unique premise that should’ve been one film and out.
So, what started as a good idea got unnecessarily revisited, and then got pummeled into the ground until it became unrecognizable and ugly. The Hangover Part III is Hollywood greed at its worst and has no redeeming value. Stay for the credits for a sequence where Phillips gets truly desperate and goes for last ditch laughs that can’t save his crap movie.