The Hangover: Part III Review
I remember when the original "The Hangover" came out in 2009. It was a comedy unlike any other in recent memory. I remember that summer quite well, as my friends and I saw "The Hangover" in theaters at least 6 times. Going back every single time to nauseate our stomachs with laughter. The best part of the first film was you really had to pay attention to hear all the funny one-liners from the cast. Another great appeal to the first "The Hangover" film was that the movie was a mystery. Mystery and comedy seldom go hand-in-hand, and everything about "The Hangover" worked.
"The Hangover" is a perfect example of a film that should exist in its own time, remaining infamous for its comedy and story. "The Hangover: Part II" was enormously disappointing. As it was just a remake of the first film, but in a different continent. I remember seeing a video on Youtube which compared the first trailer for "The Hangover" in 2009 and the first trailer for "The Hangover: Part II" in 2010. Its shocking how identical the trailers both were. One could guess the entire plot from A to Z fairly quickly in the first moments of "The Hangover: Part II" just by being a fan of the series.
I originally loved that "The Hangover: Part III" was not going involve a wedding, or a party and finally writer/director Todd Phillips was trying something different with this story and cast. Unfortunately, this third and apparent final chapter doesn't live up to the first film at all, and is a boring, unfunny, dull road back to Las Vegas.
It has an idea which really could have worked. Alan (Zack Galifianakis) is slowly loosing his mind, off his meds. So Doug, Phil, Stu and Alan's family stage an intervention for Alan after Alan's father dies. They find a lovely institution for Alan to recuperate. The Wolf Pack drives Alan to the institution but are ruthlessly pull-over by Marshall (John Goodman.) You know the name Marshall whether you realize it or not. It was name "Black Doug" (Mike Epps) said would be mad at him for switching the drugs from the first film. Because "Black Doug" gave the wrong drugs to the Wolf Pack in the first film. Marshall wants The Wolf Pack to find Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) who stole millions of dollars worth of gold bars from Marshall. Marshall and his men kidnap Doug (Justin Bartha) for collateral, while the rest of the Wolf Pack seeks out Mr. Chow. And yes, you can guess that Mr. Chow doesn't come quietly...
So the idea is there, so what could go wrong? First of all, the film is not funny at all. I remember laughing more in the second film than the this third film. Even Galifianakis barely got me to smirk this time out, which I felt very disappointed by. Second of all, I keep getting annoyed that Justin Bartha and his character Doug keep getting shortchanged. Doug is a cool, dynamic character that Todd Philips wastes in every sequel. Third of all, this movie can barely constitute as a movie in the Hangover series. I originally thought it would be a great idea to for the films setting to not be around a wedding. But the Wolf Pack never gets drunk, so whats the point of even slapping "The Hangover" brand on it? Because The Wolf Pack is in it? Because Jade the stripper (Heather Graham) and "Black Doug" are back? The characters are the essence of the story, not the other way around.
Despite what I said above, the film isn't a total train wreck. There is a Caesar's Palace break-in scene which would have worked much better in a different "Hangover" sequel. There is a funny exchange between Alan and Cassy (Melissa McCarthy) a pawn shop owner who had seen Mr. Chow recently. McCarthy is a great comedic actress, and she outdoes everybody else laughs-wise in her 12-15 minutes of screen time. There's another funny exchange when Alan comes into contact with Carlos once again...that made me smile. But that is also part of the problem, I smiled a lot more this time out instead of laughing. So it just didn't feel the same.
This all goes to show that "The Hangover" never should have been any kind of franchise. It would have been much better remembered and had a deeper legacy to just leave it at one. Now the franchise is going to be remembered as the franchise that started out guns blazing, then worsened through progression, and that's too bad. I wish Hollywood wasn't so obsessed with creating series' and franchises, but hopefully one day they'll learn. One day.
Oh, and because "Part III" feels like a direct sequel to "Part I," "Part II" is now a useless movie altogether, since "Part II" was essentially a remake.
FINAL GRADE: C-