Full disclosure, I'm not a disciple of The Hangover. Seems like that has become the standard for the modern comedy. I understand it's one of the highest grossing comedies of all time, a massive cult hit and regarded as one of the greatest comedies of the last decade. For my money, it's not and I never loved it to that extent. I did enjoy it but then it quickly became a victim of its own success and the tower built on its foundation became too heavy to withstand the weight and it all came crashing down with the release of the second one. It was one of the worst films of that year and defines what mistakes a sequel can make. But it made gobs of money again so what does that mean...we get another. Luckily, thankfully and mercifully though...this is the last one.
The 2009 original was a semi-relatable story about friends having a crazy night in Vegas and picking up the pieces the next day, which included finding their friend Doug. The 2011 sequel had the EXACT SAME story but set in another country. For this one, writer/director Todd Phillips (all the Hangover films, Due Date) realized he couldn't shovel the same crap down our throats yet again, so, to is credit, he created a new story. I won't praise him too much for that since that's what you're suppose to do with a sequel. This time it's more of a crime heist and can't even be considered a comedy since there are almost no laughs to be found.
Aside from a humorless story, he dramatically underuses two of the stars of the franchise; Ed Helms (NBC's The Office, Jeff, Who Lives at Home) and Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, The A-Team), who's even fresh off an Oscar nomination! These two do NOTHING in the film and are nothing more than walking, talking set pieces that are there purely out of obligation. The Hangover 3 is a film starring the third member of the Wolf Pack, Zack Galifianakis (The Campaign, Due Date). Of course he's the funniest thing about all the films but making him the star is not where he belongs. That would be the biggest mistake Phillips made had it not been for Ken Jeong (Role Models, Pain and Gain) making an unfortunate return.
Jeong is someone that I have never enjoyed in almost everything he's done. The man is like a gnat in that he's everywhere and always annoying me. His character in the Hangover series is Chow, a flamboyant gangster that over stayed his welcome after ten minutes of screen time in the first one. When I saw that they included him yet again for the third I was turned off but when I discovered that he's basically the star of the film, I wanted to puke in my soup. Yes, you heard me right...he's the STAR! He shares just as much screen time as the Wolf Pack but has more lines than Helms and Cooper do combined. This was the icing on the crap cake that was The Hangover 3.
It's not to say there aren't a few good moments in the film. John Goodman appears as the villain and he's always entertaining to watch but not giving him anything funny to say or do was another mistake on the ever-growing list. Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, Identity Thief) appears in a sweet cameo as she does now in all comedies that are released not learning that saturating the market is not ever a good thing. But probably one of the best moments is a reunion with Carlos, the baby from the first one, who is played by the same kid. It's a really sweet scene with Galifianakis until it just gets weird and unfunny.
I think the track record of this trilogy and Todd Phillips' other attempts at writing/directing are starting to prove that the success of the first Hangover was a fluke. What has revealed to be true is that Phillips is a guy who thinks he knows how to make a great comedy but actually doesn't. His films stink of his ego and swagger which is even more off-putting than someone who crafts a film with a lack of confidence. The only reason why The Hangover 3 should be celebrated is that it finally puts an end to our misery.
The Hangover 3 (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: D