Well folks, it’s better than Part II.
“The Hangover Part III” comes full circle. And the irony of seeing our three leads Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) passing along gold bars to each other during a mansion heist is symbolic in why there was a shanty Part II to begin with after a thoroughly impressive Part I.
This time, the Wolfpack, and Doug (Justin Bartha), are on the road to get Alan some mental help. But as they’re driving down to Arizona to a treatment center, they get ambushed by Marshall (John Goodman) and his head of security, Black Doug (a returning Mike Epps). Marshall targets the guys because of their association with Chow (Ken Jeong), who has escaped prison and is camping out in Tijuana. Chow screwed Marshall out of $21 million in gold bars, so the grumpy kingpin wants to lure the perverted international crime maverick out of hiding.
And to ensure that the Wolfpack cooperates with the plan, he kidnaps Doug (poor Bartha never gets to play in these suckers).
As mentioned above, this comes full circle; but it’s not because of character reunions, past references, or the return to Las Vegas; it’s due to the fact that the filmmaking mechanics finally evened out. The 100 minutes actually project out a well-told story (the flick’s biggest asset) as opposed to leaning on the mindless rapid firing of shenanigans to induce a laugh riot. Sure the latter technique worked in Part I, yet it had the benefit of being the first. And the original writers (Jon Lucas and Scott Moore) were cleverer (yes, that’s apparently a word) in crafting the skits with the hustling chemistry-laced “unknowns” at the time.
In this adventure, there’s still laughs and plenty of crossing the line (mainly killing animals and typical harsh crudeness), but they’re more spaced out. Plus, there’s even a well-hidden twist that shows thought was put into this. That being said, there are some D.O.A lines that will be met with silence.
The character dynamics are tweaked as well. Everything runs through Galifianakis and Jeong while Cooper and Helms are just there to articulate/keep the intriguing journey chugging along. And with the script having the ability to maintain one’s curiosity and subtly hit you with a timely ruthless punch-line, the comedy is solely falling back on inside jokes from its predecessors.
So all that being said, since this can maintain your interest and there are laughing-with-noise moments, it still struggles to evolve or simply live up to the prestige of the first go-around. Which summons up the age-old question, and historical purpose of reading a movie review, of: Should you spend money on seeing this in the theaters or can you wait until DVD/On-Demand? Well, let’s just say you won’t be complaining about dropping bones on the Third as you did for the Second. But the real question is (‘cause the previous one was fake): Can you deal with your friends being tools and blurting out the handful of decent lines/references at social gatherings this summer?
If not, venture in for one last mild ride.
The Hangover Part III is rated R and opens in the Tampa Bay market on May 23rd.