The Hangover Part III (2013)

The Hangover Part III (2013)

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Hey look, Justin Bartha is th.... never mind.
Hey look, Justin Bartha is th…. never mind.

Twitter Plot Summary: Yet another Hangover film, this time the Wolf Pack have to retrieve the money Chow stole from John Goodman. Snore.

Genre: Comedy

Director: Todd Phillips

Key Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Jeffrey Tambor, Heather Graham, Mike Epps.

Five Point Summary:

1. Justin Bartha – why are you even here, man?

2. John Goodman’s actually pretty good.

3. Chow – irritating.

4.  It’s like a greatest hits collection of the first film. Minus the entertainment.

5. Where’s the funnies? I WANT MY MONEY BACK!

I was never a huge fan of the Hangover series, to the point where I’ve still not seen Part 2. That’s no huge loss though as apart from a couple of references in the first 10 minutes, you only really need to have seen the first film to “get” The Hangover Part 3.

The gang are back together again, this time planning on sending permanent man-boy Alan to a facility that will treat his mental health problems. As to be expected, they don’t make it to the facility, being kidnapped by big crime boss John Goodman en route and made to do his bidding. It turns out that Mr Chow stole money from Goodman, playing criminal kingpin Marshall, and now he wants it back. So how do you go about reclaiming $21 million? You get a bunch of guys who aren’t trained in the art of locating people to locate Mr Chow. You know, rather than use some of your impressive funds to locate your quarry. Oh no, far too easy that.

Now, to my biggest gripe with the film – I can understand why Justin Bartha only had a minor role in the first movie as he’s the MacGuffin that pushes the somewhat unbelievable story forward. I’m not sure though why his character is so horribly sidelined in the subsequent movies. Here he’s essentially the damsel in distress (lacking any other strong female characterisation throughout the film, as you’d expect), kept locked up by John Goodman whilst the Wolf Pack try to locate Mr Chow and retrieve the money – in gold bars, no less. Doug gets the plot moving and is almost immediately taken out of the narrative. Seems a waste to me.

Disturbing. On many levels.
Disturbing. On many levels.

All due respect to him, but I’m not a huge fan of Ken Jeong. His Chow is irritating and seems to be the only reason this film exists. It’s less about the Wolf Pack and more about him and his craaaazy ways. Yawn. Some humour comes from the encounter between Alan and Melissa McCarthy’s pawn shop owner, but as she basically plays the same character in everything (loud, obnoxious, not really that funny.) the appeal of the scene is rather limited.

If you’re expecting laughs akin to the first (and presumably second) movies, then you’re in for a turgid experience. Generally light on humour in favour of a generally dull heist caper. The Wolf Pack move from set piece to set piece, meandering through the plot until its inevitable conclusion. If it had just been left at one film I’d have been fine with it. It works in isolation and that’s fine. The problem appears to be that The Hangover made quite a bit of money so the studio said “I know, let’s make MORE of them!” And thus, a franchise was born. Now, as I said earlier, I can’t speak for The Hangover Part 2 as yet, but from what I’ve heard it’s essentially a rehash of the first film, but this time in Bangkok. Kudos to this film for at least not following the same template as the previous two, but you either make Ocean’s Eleven (which clearly Todd Phillips wanted to do here) or you make The Hangover. And make it funny, that also helps.

There are a lot of well-directed sequences, and the opening that shows Chow’s escape from prison is a nice homage to The Shawshank Redemption, and I can’t really fault the story overall as it works on the whole as a crime caper. Unfortunately its efforts to be more like the Ocean’s Eleven series are to its detriment.

Favourite scene: Alan taking a picture of Phil as he hangs off the Caesar’s Palace sign.

Quote: “I believe I can fly… I love cocaine!”

Silly Moment: Chow insisting he and Stu crawl around on their hands and knees like dogs. Then Chow eats some dog food.

Score: 2/5

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