As sequels go, The Hangover Part III escapes the trap that befalls many of them.
Instead of losing more of the steam of an original, something that happened with the second film in this trilogy, it re-gains the momentum lost in that second installment.
The uproarious original begat the less so second film and its hit-or-miss laughs and the third? It strikes the right tone and has the balance that makes it funny while showing sentimentality. It’s the end of the wacky adventures for the Wolf Pack of Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Doug (Justin Bartha) and, of course, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and rather than going for the obvious – preparing for Alan’s wedding, director-writer Todd Philips takes a major detour as the pack deals with an increasingly more unstable Alan.
The juvenile, unhinged caricature of a person grows even wilder after an escapade with the purchase of a giraffe that sends his father over the edge – literally – into his grave. After that incident his friends and family decide to stage an intervention and get Alan off to a mental health care facility in Arizona. However, they don’t quite arrive at their appointed destination.
Instead, they’re run off the road by a bunch of hire goons working for a thug named Marshall (John Goodman). Marshall is in search of Mr. Chow (Kim Jeong), who heisted $21 million in gold bars from him years before.
Marshall knows the best way to find Chow is through Alan and the Wolf Pack and to ensure that the guys do his bidding and trek the whacked out felon down, he takes Doug hostage, agreeing to return him only when they’ve delivered Chow to him.
Considering Chow has maintained contact with Alan, this shouldn’t have been too tough to handle, no? For those who know the prior films the steadfast rule is all mayhem runs through Chow. The Hangover Part III is no exception and we’re thankful for that fact.
Jeong revels in his role as the anarchic Asian and it’s to the audience’s benefit the mayhem he injects generally leads to some of the film’s funnier moments. The others come courtesy of Alan who has his own off-kilter kind of vibe, but it emanates more from innocence and ignorance than it does malice like Chow.
The rest of the guys? They’re more than appendages as watching them react to the chaos Alan creates offers its moments of amusement, but Philips’ script plays more to the weird and completely dysfunctional relationship that Alan and Chow maintain.
Great moments exist outside of it – such as the weird first meeting between Alan and the lady of his dreams played by Melissa McCarthy with the usual zest and zeal she puts in her performances.
If there were any weakness to pinpoint it comes from a lagging pace. Philips could have gotten to the point and the laughs sooner giving them added punch, but given the success these films have given him, it’s of little wonder that he wanted to linger in the moments for a final time.
Movie: The Hangover Part III
Director: Todd Philips
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rated: R (or pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity.)
Running time: 100 minutes
George’s rating: 3.5-of-5 stars
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