Although there are currently no reviews of the Hangover trilogy on this site, I recently watched this third instalment – having seen and enjoyed the previous two – but since I feel there’s a lot more to say about this one. Oh, and we’re back now, with hopefully daily reviews.
(C) Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures
Please note that there may be minor spoilers, so I recommend watching the film before reading this review.
The Hangover III picks up quite soon after the events of the second entry, and the ‘Wolfpack’ of Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) have just about recovered from their escapades in Bangkok. The destruction caused by Mr. Chow (Community’s Ken Jeong) is more or less gone, and they have returned to normality (if you can call it that). However, Alan hasn’t been himself lately, and the gang decide to take him to a clinic in Arizona to get their fanny-pack loving friend back to his former self. On their way, their car is intercepted by mob boss Marshall (John Goodman), who tells them if they don’t find Mr. Chow within three days, Doug will be killed. The film then follows the Wolfpack as they desperately hunt for Chow to save their friend.
First things first, this film isn’t great. It lacks the charisma and charm of the previous two, and I believe that there was no need for this film to be in the Hangover series, by which I mean it could have different leads and a different name and it would be the exact same film; there is nothing here that makes it a Hangover film. It’s less raunchy, it’s less bonkers, and they don’t even get drunk, so why is it a Hangover film? It seems to me that the only reason the Hangover brand was tacked on to this was to help it make money at the box office, but this materialised in no way, since it made a substantial amount less than the previous two. In a time where sequels and remakes are the most frequent releases, it’s a shame that a series such as The Hangover, which was so groundbreaking when first released, has fallen into the trap of cash-cow corporate bosses.
Although, not everything about this film was poor. It was lovely to see the characters again, to see what they got up to after The Hangover II, and the performances here are as solid as ever, with not one cast member letting the boat sink, and additions such as John Goodman only compound the solid performances. Zach Galifianakis remains the standout as Alan, due to his superb comedic timing and wittiness, but regulars such as Bradley Cooper and Ken Jeong do a good job of retaining what made their characters great beforehand.
Technically, this film is pretty great, due to some lovely shots and interesting set pieces, which, although deviate from the franchise’s MO, help to spice this entry up and differentiate it. The music is rather forgettable, and the film lacks the one anthem that the previous two had to cement them in my memory. Todd Phillips does a good job with the cinematography, something I commend the Hangover franchise for, and its surprising to see such a dedication go to the direction in a genre where a lot of films are slapdash and rushed out (I’m looking at you, Adam Sandler).
The story is also pretty mediocre, and you could liken it to a fetch quest in a video game. They are sent to do something, and have to bring something – in this case a small Asian man – to someone else – in this case John Goodman’s mob boss. The story looks like it could take some interesting turns, and at points it does, particularly with the raiding of Marshall’s house quite early on, but the film ultimately returns to the setting of Las Vegas. Don’t get me wrong, I loved seeing the city of sin in the first film, but returning to it, and retreading old ground, felt superfluous, and I partly wish they had gone somewhere else to find Chow.
I don’t hate The Hangover III, but I certainly don’t love it either. It falls in a strange bracket where it deviates too far from the established ethos of the franchise, but doesn’t do enough differently and relies on the success of the previous films to carry it through. Performances were good and Todd Phillips’ direction was as solid as ever, but a lazy plot and reliance on previous entries drag The Hangover Part III down.
I give The Hangover Part III 6 out of 10.
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Thanks for reading, and be sure to look out for another review tomorrow!