Hangover III gives one an after-party headache that no medicine can relieve.
Disappointing, anti-climactic, and tedious, Hangover III delivers nothing new or inventive, settling in for moments of nostalgia surrounded by genuinely unfunny humor. The way we felt after the first film is long gone, replaced by Zach Galifianakis just doing one stupid unfunny thing after another.
With the death of his father, the black sheep Alan (Zach Galifianakis, The Campaign) is suddenly the center of attention, as his friends Stu (Ed Helms, The Office), Doug (Justin Bartha, National Treasure), and Phil (Bradley Cooper, Limitless) lead an intervention to force Alan into treatment. Their car ride to Arizona is rudely interrupted with their kidnapping by the notorious gangster Marshall (John Goodman, O Brother, Where Art Thou?). Apparently, the 'virus' Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong, Pineapple Express) has stolen millions from Marshall, disappearing since his escape from a Thai prison. Marshall holds Doug while ordering the rest of The Wolf Pack to find Chow. This leads the boys to Tijuana and eventually back where it all started: Las Vegas. As the boys track Chow to Vegas, Alan meets and falls for the owner of a pawn shop (Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids). Friends are reunited, marriage vows rings the halls again, blah blah blah.
If you saw the sleeper-fest American Reunion, you could almost graft Hangover III right on top of it in terms of its effect. Everyone is grown up, people are tired of Alan, weird things still happen, comedy ensues. But this time, so little of it feels right, including the actors themselves. The now very popular (and honestly better than this) Cooper feels entirely out of place, with a permanent 'contract fulfilled' look on his face. The tattoo-less Helms is there merely to react to Galifianakis, who he himself isn't that funny. The moments that the film could have descended into memorable humor - with McCarthy's story limited to just a few scenes, and Goodman's bi-polar gangster portrayal few and far between - are ditched for a very familiar story about The Wolf Pack. Their procedural antics occur as - once again - Bartha remains in the background. There are a few cameos, but nothing too surprising or even necessary - frankly a film in which Heather Graham appears without exposing herself is not really worth watching. Even the normally irascible Jeong feels a little boring and even predictable. The only funny part of the film is the end credits, a 'Hey, we forgot to add this little thing' short that should have been the basis for the entire movie. Instead, we got the final chapter in what needs to be the final chapter.
I was such a fan of the original Hangover for so many reasons: over-the-top raunch, surrounded by good actors who had great chemistry. Most of that is gone now, replaced with a dull center of a story that could have been so much better. In so many ways, Hangover III feels like the events it characterizes, that of a one-night stand which seemed fun at the time but has now deteriorated into something less attractive. And like that date who won't stop calling you back, it's time to change your phone number. The film will probably make a lot of money, entertaining crowds in the meantime, but we deserve better than this. That's what we got in 2009, when comedy and raunch drank from the same bottle, ended up in bed together, and let loose their imaginations. This party should be over. Hangover III is rated R for...well...everything and has a runtime of 100 minutes.
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