Written by Guillermo Troncoso.
By the rules of Hollywood, if a film is successful then it will be highly likely that a sequel will follow. If that sequel is successful, then prepare for a franchise. When The Hangover was released in 2009 no one expected it to do as well as it did. It took a world-wide gross of almost half a BILLION dollars and was awarded a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. In the U.S. The Hangover remains the third highest-grossing R-rated film of all time, behind only The Passion of the Christ and The Matrix Reloaded. Sequels? Definitely.
As is usually the case with sequels, The Hangover Part II just wasn’t on par with the first. The humor seemed tired, forced and overly familiar. It didn’t help that the premise was almost identical to the first film, albeit this time in Bangkok. So, does the third entry in this highly successful series succumb to the mediocrity that often follows three-quels? Well, a little.
We meet up with The Wolfpack two years after the events in Part II. The guys are leading pretty uneventful lives, all except for Alan (Zach Galifianakis), who hasn’t been taking his medication and whose behavior seems to be deteriorating for the worse. After some convincing from the guys, Alan allows them to take him to a clinic in Arizona. On the road they are stopped by a drug-lord named Marshall (John Goodman), who is after Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong). Marshall gives the boys an ultimatum: find Chow or Doug dies. Chaos ensues.
The Hangover Part III is pretty different from the first two films. The comedy remains vulgar, crass and rude. There are scenes of murder, animal cruelty and racism, so it’s another day at the office for director Todd Phillips and his team. The difference with this one is the fusion of the action-thriller genre. Some scenes are surprisingly serious and intense. Don’t get me wrong, this is still primarily a comedy, but there’s a certain level of malice here that makes it feel both fresh and uncomfortable. It isn’t easy to find the comedy in the suffocation of a rooster or the cold-blooded execution of a man into a pool. At least the plot-line here doesn’t repeat the blueprint from number one.
The thriller element aside, the comedy is mostly still here. Zach Galifianakis once again takes the spotlight as the juvenile Alan and Ken Jeong gets a much bigger role this time round. They both provide laughs, but they’re also both quite irritating. The great thing about the first film is that Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms provided a relief of sorts from the moronic actions of these two characters, not any more. Their collective craziness get thrust into the foreground and it becomes a little exhausting.
In terms of comedy, The Hangover Part III does provide plenty of laughs, but it isn’t consistent. When it’s funny, it’s hilarious. When it’s lame, it’s painful. Todd Phillips can certainly direct comedy well (he has also directed Road Trip and Old School) and he delivers some pretty funny moments. He has definitely upped the style in his direction this time round. Some sequences are stylishly directed and choreographed, others are annoyingly self-absorbed.
All in all, The Hangover Part III is a mixed bag. There are things to enjoy and there are things to dislike. It’s better than the second entry, but it still isn’t close to the first. Kudos to the team for attempting to do something a little different with the last film in the trilogy, too.
P.S.: Stay through the credits.
THE REEL SCORE: 6/10