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Review: The Hangover Part III (2013)

The Hangover Part III

The second sequel to the 2009 runaway smash from writer/director Todd Phillips (Road Trip, Old School), The Hangover Part III has already arrived and it continues the misadventures of the series ‘Wolfpack’: Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis), and Doug (Justin Bartha).

In this installment, we find our gang chaperoning out-of-control sociopath Alan to a rehab centre in the wake of a string of incidents at his hand, including a highway giraffe decapitation and the death of his father (Jeffrey Tambor). On their journey they are accosted by gangster Marshall (John Goodman), who — knowing of their prior association — demands they bring to him the wily Mr Chow (Ken Jeong), who has stolen a large amount of gold from him. With Marshall holding Doug hostage as collateral (of course!), it is up to the rest of the Wolfpack to trace down the recent jailbird Chow, setting up a film which is less buddy comedy and more a dark, action oriented… something. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t possibly classify it as comedy.

The Hangover Part III

Funeral selfies bring the lolz.

This chapter differs from prior iterations in that this time there is no titular hangover; a welcome relief to those (including myself) who derided Hangover Part II as a near-identical facsimile of the plot and pacing of Part I. Unfortunately the change to a quasi-heist caper cannot save the film from the same flaws that plagued the first sequel; a nasty sense of humour, hit-or-miss jokes, and an overall sense of laziness – the epitome of a blatant cash-grab.

This film focuses on the relationship of Alan and Chow, and if you have seen the prior installments of the franchise, you can expect a very specific kind of humour; which is to the film’s detriment. Alan and Chow are horrible humans, and having them as the focus of the film is an ordeal for the audience as these characters have zero redeeming qualities. To make matters worse, the characters played by Cooper (an Academy Award nominee) and Helms have barely any personality or depth, and they take a backseat to what is clearly the Galifianakis/Jeong show.

Come to think of it, Cooper’s Phil has not developed any sort of personality outside of ‘cool guy’ over the course of three films. At least in the first two films Stu had a character arc and development. Phil is utterly bland and one-dimensional when put in focus: what a waste of talent.

The comedy is largely mean-spirited, asking the audience to bask in the ‘hilarity’ of animal cruelty, death and violence, and mocking those who are different. Actual jokes are few and far between, the film instead relying on psychopaths Mr Chow and Alan saying or doing things that are inappropriate or inexplicable (such as Chow sniffing Alan’s butt and eating dog food: why?). The tone and humour is just way too dark to be enjoyed, which is a far cry from the fun, unpredictable and shocking moments which made the original such a success.

The Hangover Part III

All three are just thinking about the paycheck.

Although to be fair, the jam-packed screening I attended seemed to be greatly enjoying the cavalcade of sexist, homophobic, and offensive jokes. Is this just where society is right now, where we are happy to laugh with people who mock the elderly and decrepit? Do we actually find humour in a decapitated giraffe or the slow suffocation of a coked-up rooster, or do we laugh because we feel we have to? If this movie is a mirror of society, I would like to see what a comedy of this nature would consist of in ten years’ time.

But it’s not all negative; although a lot of comedy misses the mark, there are a few set-pieces that were somewhat entertaining, such as Cooper and Galifianakis’ high-altitude shenanigans on the top of Caesar’s Palace: a throwback to the classic slapstick comedy of Harold Lloyd. The film also moves at a brisk pace, and the cinematography is superb when it decides to focus on the scenic vistas of Tijuana or the lush backdrops of Las Vegas.

Hopefully, this actually is the last we’ll see of this tapped-out franchise, as the entire cast is now above this — admittedly star-making — material (besides maybe Jeong, who I find too obnoxious more often than not). Although based on how quickly they can churn these movies out, and with the amount of cash they bring in, it would not surprise me if all involved were coaxed back for another ‘wacky adventure’ once the studio comes knocking with truck-loads of cash and ivory back-scratchers.

I mean, the tag line sells this as “The Epic Finale to the Hangover Trilogy”, but tag lines have been lying to audiences ever since Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.

Llama Score: 4The Hangover Part III is not good. In fact, it’s a downright dreary affair, bereft of any actual comedy. In lieu of an actual fun time you will find a joyless slog, an emotionless void where actual laughs are meant to lie. But you’ll see it anyway, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s time to lay this Wolfpack to rest.

 

Award: Recycle

Award: Fury

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights Banner

 

 

– Some gags work.

– Better than Part II.

Lowlights Banner

 

 

– Attempts at humour are often a stretch.

– Focusing on Alan and Chow was such a horrible idea.

– Who likes animal murder?

Further Viewing Banner

 

 

– The Hangover

– The Hangover Part II

– Due Date

Directed by: Todd Phillips Written by: Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin Produced by: Todd Phillips, Daniel Goldberg Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Justin Bartha, John Goodman Distributed by: Warner Bros Run length: 100 minutes Australian Release: 23 May 2013

 

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1 Comment

  1. Tim Kot

     /  May 26, 2013

    Can you get me an ice cream cake for my birthday? And a frog in the pond?

    Like

    Reply

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