Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Hangover Part III (2013)

Just like real hangovers, the more you have them, the less fun they become...

After the lazy, disappointment that was The Hangover Part II, I heard many reports from people involved in the production of The Hangover Part III that we'd be getting a much different story this time around, as opposed to yet another rehash of the first (which Part II was).  While Part III is finally a different story than either Part I or Part II, that doesn't mean it delivers on the fun or laughs promised.

The Hangover franchise is a perfect example of trying to squeeze blood (money) from a stone. The first Hangover was a perfectly-contained, raunchy comedy.  There simply wasn't a need for a sequel.  There were no unanswered questions that we needed to revisit in later chapters, and we didn't catch up with these guys to see how their lives turned out.  It's one of the reasons why there's not much of a story in either of the sequels.

Case in point, the main plot of Part III has more to do with Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) than it does with The Wolfpack.  Chow wasn't much more than a side character in the first film.  Hell, the movie doesn't even revolve around the premise of these guys recovering from a hangover and trying to piece together the previous night.  It's more of an attempt to refer back to events of the first film and close the circle.

After the death of his father, Alan's (Zach Galifianakis) friends and family stage an intervention.  He's been off his meds for a while and needs help.  While driving him to a care facility, The Wolfpack is attacked and kidnapped by a mob boss (John Goodman), who wants them to track down Chow.  Chow has stolen a large amount of gold from him, and thinks The Wolfpack are the only ones that can find him.  Why a mob boss would force these doofuses to track Chow down instead of using his own henchmen is beyond me, but whatever.

The Wolfpack spends the rest of the film catching up to Chow.  They don't even end up in Vegas until almost the very end.

The most disappointing aspect of Part III was the lack of humor.  Sure, there are a few chuckles here and there, but otherwise, there just isn't that much to laugh at.  It's more of a action movie, with a few comic elements thrown in.  Many of the biggest laughs in the movie come from longer versions of what you've already seen in the trailer.  So, if you really love that scene where Zach Galifianakis is singing at the funeral, or when he cries at his intervention, you can look forward much longer versions of those.  The giraffe scene played out a little differently than I expected though, and that was probably the biggest laugh of the movie for me.  Unfortunately, that was the opening scene of the film.  I've always said that hallmark of a good comedy is quotability, and this definitely lacks that.  It's actually pretty forgettable.

The rest of the film is Alan saying weird stuff, and Stu (Ed Helms) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) reacting to either him or Chow's antics.  This leads to another big problem I had, which is after three films you can only conclude that Alan really is an awful person.  Granted, he's mentally ill, but there's no reason for these guys to be friends with him.  There's a scene of him involving a kid that I found a little disgusting and not in a raunchy way.  It just illustrated to me what a terrible person Alan is.  Don't get me wrong, awful characters sometimes make for the best comedy, but the schtick has gotten old.

I don't know why director Todd Phillips, who also co-wrote with Part II writer Craig Mazin, didn't bring back the original writers of The Hangover (Jon Lucas and Scott Moore) to give this film the energy it desperately needed.  It's clear they didn't know what to do with these characters, and the script desperately needed some punch up.

Most of original cast returns, along with a few cameos.  Forgotten member of The Wolfpack, Justin Bartha, once again is barely in it.  Poor guy, he never gets to have any of the fun.  Then again, maybe it's better that that nobody will remember his involvement in this series.

There's a short scene after the credits start (which actually was kind of funny and makes you wish the movie would have followed that story more), but nothing else, so there's no need to stay to the end of the credits.

The Wolfpack disappoints again.  The Hangover Part III is yet another uninspired sequel to a film I used to love.  It's not so bad that it made me angry, but it's just not that funny or even entertaining.  It's missing all the energy of Part I or even Part II.  Part III is a movie that I have no desire to ever watch again.  Hopefully, this really is the last of the series. I know you guys probably really want to see this, but save your money and wait for rental.

2 (out of 5) Death Stars

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