The Hangover Part III Directed by: Todd Phillips Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, John Goodman Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins Rating: R Release Date: May 23, 2013
PLOT: There is no wedding, but there is trouble. Marshall (Goodman) wants the money that Mr. Chow (Jeong) stole from him. Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms) and Alan (Galifianakis) must help get it back, or their friend Doug (Justin Bartha) will die.
WHO'S IT FOR? Those who must know how the trilogy ends. If you worship Galifianakis and Jeong, you'll find most of this movie worth your time.
The Wolfpack is dead. The Hangover is easily one of the best comedies of the last decade. The sequel mimicked that film delivering some funny moments. The Hangover Part III got the memo, deciding to head in a new direction, and not repeat the formula. Unfortunately they forgot to bring the laugh-out-loud moments with it. At best, The Hangover Part III is a slow-moving action movie with some amusing moments.
Some things have changed. After a highway accident, and two early deaths, Alan's family and friends finally believe he needs help. Phil, Stu, Doug and Alan drive to a facility (to learn to stop being annoying?) in Arizona, but Marshall and his evil minions stop them. There is a long flashback, including some moments that happened last time the boys were in Vegas, and then we're off! Actually, that's the way it's supposed to feel. But the film lacks a "We're off!" moment.
Galifianakis is still funny as Alan. It's a good character, and I always feel like I'm waiting to hear what he will say next. For some reason in this adventure, Alan has decided to hate Stu. Stu's attitude hasn't changed, he still can't believe he's in trouble while hanging out with these guys. Phil is shocked by the craziness, and finds different ways to show he's shocked (sometimes with a smirk, sometimes not).
Eventually they get to Las Vegas. This doesn't add any comedic zest to the film. There's a moment that feels forced, obvious, and WAY too easy for Phil and Alan to pull off, which involves the top of Caesar's Palace. At the end of that sequence there is a cameo from Phillips in which he's a dirty guy, paying a prostitute. That's Phllips' idea of a joke. "Look at me! I'm paying for sex!" When there aren't attempted jokes, there seems to be a lot of talk about death, or people actually dying. No one needed a darker Hangover, but it's what we got.
It's odd that Phillips put this many eggs into the Jeong basket. No one missed Jeong, because he's everywhere. I think it's great he's getting work, and I really liked his character arc on this year's season of "Community," but when The Hangover Part II ended, I had my fill of Mr. Chow. The plot is completely centered around Chow, and while I wasn't terribly annoyed with his presence, I can't name the funny moments he brought to the screen. I actually can't name the really funny parts of this film. I was happiest when Melissa McCarthy was a part of things. She has a small part, and is involved with the moment after the credits. With the end of the film, we're given a glimpse of what The Hangover Part III would have been if there was, you know, a hangover. Even though it's a repetitive formula, at least it provided laughs in the past.
Phillips must have heard the cries that The Hangover Part II is pale by comparison of the first film. He set out in a new direction, but for some reason he left almost everything funny out of the mix. Having a few chuckles shouldn't be the point of The Hangover Trilogy. The Wolfpack has (supposedly) come to an end. I'm OK with that.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10