The Hangover Part III (2013)

Posted: October 21, 2013 in Movies

hangoverWhen “The Hangover” hit movie theaters in 2009, audiences turned the underrated comedy into one of the great successes of the year, and subsequently made stars out of the main characters. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zack Galifianakis all went from virtual nobodies to superstars overnight, and with good reason: the film was an absolute comedic classic. You knew the minute you watched the credits roll that there would be a sequel, and that’s where the rabbit-hole immediately got a little tight.

“The Hangover: Part II” was odd. I’m not sure if they took the joke to far, or forgot the punchline, but the sequel was ghostly in comparison to its predecessor. Maybe I didn’t know enough about Bangkok or transvestite strippers to “connect” with the humor, but the film came across as dark and blurry photocopy of the first- which was the complete opposite of what I (and other movie-goers) expected. When rumors began circulating for a third installment of the trilogy, I wasn’t sure I cared anymore. Was I willing to suffer through two more hours of bad cock jokes and dated drug-use references? I knew I certainly wasn’t going to go to the theater and drop fifty bucks on a night I would probably regret, but now that The Hangover: Part III is available on DVD and BluRay, I decided to see if “The Wolfpack” had any gas left in the tank and any laughs left to offer.

wolfpack

Where the first two installments begin with the crew waking up after a forgotten night of partying, Part III takes a different angle. The gang has reunited after the death of Allen’s (Galifianakis) father, and have decided to escort him to a mental institution in Arizona. En route, the pack is hijacked by a crime boss named Marshall (John Goodman), who demands they find and retrieve Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) because he stole $21 million in gold from him. Marshall figures the group’s previous run-ins with Chow make them the best men for the job and so he takes Doug (Justin Bartha) as insurance until they bring him in. Luckily Chow continued to keep in touch with Allen after he escaped from a Bangkok prison and let him know he was going to be in Mexico, which conveniently narrows down their search.

The movie unfolds with some funny exchanges and a couple of predictable double-crosses, all funneling into a anti-climactic conclusion that wrapped up the trilogy in a nice tight bow, but what made the movie more entertaining than expected is the effort to expand on some real human emotions (Chow and Allen’s friendship being the most prominent). It felt as if director Todd Phillips and his co-writer, Craig Mazin had actually grown up from the original premise and had something to say this time around, and it freshened up the overused premise.

If you want to laugh until it hurts, though, I would definitely go back to the first film, as “The Hangover: Part III” failed – again – to live up to its reputation as an epic comedy and proved, if nothing else, that the whole concept has pretty much run its course.

Rated R, 100 minutes

Available October 8th on DVD and BluRay

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