Given the huge international box-office success of “The Hangover” in 2009, nobody was surprised when producing studio Warner Bros. decided to quickly give the OK to do a sequel to writer and director Todd Phillips. When “The Hangover Part II” surpassed the original in terms of box-office tallies, Warner Bros. again gave the green light to Phillips to do a third installment. Because Phillips insisted that this is the very end of his envisioned trilogy, fans are now eagerly anticipating the May 23, 2013, release. Before the film is unleashed into theaters, here is a look back at everything leading up to the series finale.
In May 2009, a comedy with a small $35 million budget was released into theaters. It starred several actors who weren’t exactly household names at the time. In fact, arguably the most famous actor was Ed Helms, who was known for his role on the hit NBC comedy “The Office.” Bradley Cooper was a struggling actor who was still looking for his big break, and Zach Galifianakis was a fringe comedian who was also on the cusp of fame but had yet to really break through. Somehow, this trio of actors made what was then the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time.
The story begins with Doug Billings (Justin Bartha), a groom-to-be who has planned a trip to Las Vegas for his bachelor party with friends Dr. Stu Price (Helms) and Phil Wenneck (Cooper). His bride-to-be, Tracy (Sasha Barrese), begs him to take her neurotic man-child of a brother Alan (Galifianakis) to Las Vegas with them because she’s worried that he doesn’t get out enough and needs friends. Doug reluctantly agrees, and the Wolf Pack, as Alan names the four of them, head out to the desert in Alan’s father’s classic car.
The boys enjoy a toast on the roof of their hotel room and then go off into the Vegas night to celebrate. The problem is that they wake up the next morning with a tiger in their trashed hotel room and a baby in the closet. They have no recollection of the night before, and Doug, the groom, is missing. They try to retrace their steps, which leads them to a crazy Chinese mobster named Chow (Ken Jeong), a police demonstration for kids where they get zapped with a Taser, and a hospital with a very sarcastic doctor. All of these adventures finally lead them back to the roof of the hotel where the previous night began, where, as it turns out, Doug is safe and sound, though a little worse for wear. The boys pack up and head back to California for the wedding, where Stu breaks up with his uptight girlfriend, vowing to return to Vegas to see the stripper (and mother of the mystery baby in the closet) who he accidentally married in a drunken haze.
“The Hangover Part II” follows a similar plot, although, this time, the wedding is for Stu, who divorced Jade the stripper and is now marrying a new girl named Lauren in her family’s native Thailand. The Wolf Pack gathers in Bangkok for the ceremony, with Stu insisting that they not have a bachelor party for fear of Alan putting roofies in their drinks again like last time. Instead, they have a small bonfire on the beach, which turns out to be just as disastrous as the Vegas debacle. This time, Stu’s future brother-in-law Teddy (Mason Lee) is the one who is missing, and Doug has to help the other Wolf Packers from his hotel, to which he had wisely retired before the bonfire got out of hand.
Alan, Stu, and Phil now must traverse the streets of Bangkok to find Teddy despite that they don’t recall what happened and don’t speak Thai. Once again, they get mixed up with Chow, who Alan invited as his guest to the wedding. Just as he begins to relay the story of the night before, he suddenly dies of what seems to be a cocaine overdose, further deepening the hole the three men have dug for themselves.
“The Hangover Part III” does not have a wedding or a bachelor party, because everyone but the nearly undateable Alan is already hitched. In fact, the film centers on Alan, who seems to be more out of sorts than usual. When tragedy strikes his family, he takes a look at himself and decides he needs to break out of his rut. He enlists the rest of the Wolf Pack to help, which unwittingly unleashes a series of events that leads them back to Vegas. Will the boys survive a return to Sin City after barely surviving the last time? Warner Bros. is keeping the details under wraps until the film’s release, so all answers will be revealed on May 23, 2013.