The Hangover Part III

The Hangover Part III


Reviewed by: Merlin Harries

With The Hangover, director Todd Phillips had hit upon the kind of comedic zeitgeist that was immediately reminiscent of John Landis' triumphant Animal House (1978). It was the kind of film that jostled the boundaries of physical taste through puerile vulgarity and, yet, was wrought with irreverant charm.

It went on to gross $467 million worldwide and, rather unsurprisingly, spawned a sequel that went on to surpass its predecessor's box office and garner an ungodly $581 million. Little wonder, then, that a third and allegedly final instalment has emerged, completing that all important trilogy which so often now seems practically prerequisite.

Copy picture

The problem with The Hangover 2 was that, in a desperate attempt to ramp up the skulduggery with even more unashamedly gratuitous debauchery, Phillips script was, in places, simply not funny. With Paul Feig's raucously funny Bridesmaids (2011), the seemingly hetero-normative archetypes also became increasingly less relevant. Indeed, the brilliant Melissa McCarthy joins Phillips' cast for a frustratingly limited snippet, as a love interest for Zach Galifianakis' Alan.

Phillips' third and final entry offers very little in terms of freshness, with Bradley Cooper and co frantically playing catch-up with Ken Jeong's inimitable Chow. Such is the reliance upon Chow's exploits to carry the plot that Phillips opts to omit the titular hangover all together, with the gang instead embarking on a mission to rescue their old pal Doug (Justin Bartha).

More than two years has passed since the trip to Bangkok and we find Phil (Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan all residing in suburban tranquility, a peaceable existence which is shattered when Galifianakis' eccentric manchild causes a freeway pile-up as a result of an ill-fated decision to adopt a pet giraffe. Meanwhile, Chow is in the midst of Shawshanking his way out of a Thai prison, his new found freedom eventually prompting a run-in between the Wolfpack and John Goodman's villainous crime lord, Marshall. As the film's poster proudly proclaims, it is 'The End' and this is made painfully clear throughout, as the gleesome threesome are dispatched by Marshall to track down the errant Chow.

Whereas the Wolfpack's initial roofie-fuelled dalliance through the nightlife of Las Vegas was riven with comedy gold, their third outing falls short. The crucial ingredient of pending nuptials thrown into jeopardy by Alan's pharmacological proclivities are utterly absent. They are, instead, replaced by cheap laughs and inscrutable violence, as Chow adopts a much more sinister malevolence that regrettably strips the character of his whimsical charm.

As the quest for Chow esclates, the trio return to their old stomping ground, Las Vegas. "I told myself I'd never come back," Stu tells Phil, who consoles his chum by assuring him that "It all ends tonight", queue palpable gasps of relief and watch-checking.

For fans of the original and the follow-up, The Hangover 3 will not disappoint in that it replicates the sequel almost exactly, save for the monkey exiting stage left to be replaced by his more regal zoological counterpart, the giraffe. While a cigarette-smoking simian may not represent the zenith of cinematic hilarity, it is a fitting totem for this trilogy. Reckless, feckless and, above all, utterly irredeemable.

Reviewed on: 25 May 2013
Share this with others on...
The Hangover Part III packshot
The Wolfpack try to rescue their pal.
Amazon link

Director: Todd Phillips

Writer: Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Heather Graham, John Goodman, Jeffrey Tambor, Melissa McCarthy

Year: 2013

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Search database: