Review: The Hangover Part III

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The Hangover Part III 

In 2009 audiences were treated to one of the funniest comedies in recent history: The Hangover. The Todd Phillips-helmed film demonstrated that adult comedy could turn out serious box office numbers. The success of The Hangover was accomplished by weaving together a highly engaging story that can be classified as a comedic whodunnit. The hook for this film was the mystery surrounding the "who" and the "dunnit." The first part was the "who." Who wrecked the expensive Las Vegas suite? Who is this baby we just found in our wrecked hotel room? And finally who does this tiger belong to? The second part was the "dunnit." What happened to Doug (Justin Bartha)? What happened to Stu's (Ed Helms) tooth? And finally: What the hell happened last night? The characters retrace their steps from the prior evening, slowly unraveling the story layer by layer.

2011 brought the return of the "Wolfpack" in The Hangover Part II. This time the boys wake up in a wrecked hotel room in Bangkok. Now, instead of a tooth missing, Stu has a brand new tattoo ... on ... his face! This film is pretty much a beat-for-beat rehash of the original film, possessing some fresh jokes and situations thrown in. While successful at the box office, this movie didn’t enchant audiences like the original.

Now 2013 brings us the Wolfpack once more in The Hangover Part III. This time no one wakes up in a wrecked hotel room, nor is anyone missing. The story now revolves around the kidnapping of Doug by a drug kingpin named Marshall (John Goodman). Marshall wants his stolen gold returned and enlists the Wolfpack to do his bidding. Why the Wolfpack? Marshall blames them for his gold getting stolen by rival drug kingpin Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), the drug dealer from the previous movies. The film is spent in a series of capers that take the characters from Arizona to Tijuana and finally the place where it all started: Las Vegas!

This film has none of the charm or wit of the first two films in the trilogy. Most of the jokes are mean, vindictive or just fall completely flat. In the first two films the majority of the laughs come from two characters in particular: Mr. Chow and Alan (Zach Galifianakis). Mr. Chow is like the mean kid in elementary school who has the craftiest put-downs at the edge of his tongue 24/7. Alan is a likable man-child who wants to be accepted but his lacks the life skills to have real connections with people. In The Hangover Part III neither character returns to the familiar behavior we have grown to love. Alan is just plain mean and Mr. Chow’s wittiness must have been left somewhere in Bangkok. Their performances were pretty much phoned in. As for the "dunnit" part of the story, there was none this time. The story is pretty atypical, possessing no real surprises or revelations. 

I do want to note that one part of the movie was especially funny, a small scene that occurs during the film's end credits. I don't want to tell you anything about this scene, other than to just say, stay for it. This scene is by far the funniest part of The Hangover Part III. Actually this is probably where the movie should have started. 

The Hangover Part III has been billed as the "Epic Finale" to the Hangover trilogy. The epic part is right: This film is an epically boring and tepid conclusion to a franchise that should have ended with the first film.