Stars: Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Justin Bartha
Director: Todd Phillips
Genre: Gross-out Comedy
It's hard to catch lightning in a bottle. Todd Phillips and company did it with the original film, which was an instant classic, but you know, milking that cash cow is so hard to resist,(ask Sylvester Stallone) so now we have two sequels that pale in comparison to The Hangover.
The Hangover Part III is uneven and inexplicably mean-spirited in tone (I've never understood the mindset that thinks animal cruelty is funny). The film's saving grace, I suppose, is that it's frat-boy humor--and that's what this is from start to finish--slaughters all sacred cows, so no one should complain that they've been singled out. Yes, there are laughs here and there, but it's the scattershot approach to humor--as in throwing a bunch of crap up against the wall--some of it's going to stick, and some of it is going to plop flat.
In a departure from the formula for the first two films, The Hangover Part III is targeting the action/adventure crowd, as it follows The Wolfpack (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha) from Mexico to Las Vegas, with bang 'em up car chases and dudes getting shot, as the manhunt is on for the maniacal Mr.Chow (Ken Jeong). Chow has ripped-off mega millions in gold bullion from crime boss Marshall,(John Goodman)who has commissioned our boys to bring him back, or else.
Chow is an over-the-top caricature of an out of control sociopath who has no regard for any kind of life--human or animal--and merely does what is is callously expedient to serve his own single-minded purpose. He is so far from plausible as any kind of real person that the writers apparently figured anything and everything he does will get a guffaw out of some sick puppy in the audience, and even if there are only varied and scattered pockets of laughter, everyone should come away with at least one or two bits they felt were really bitchin.'
I dunno, I get the impression Bradly Cooper was slumming in this project, as was Ed Helms, who is a considerable comic presence in his own right--as he has shown in the TV hit The Office , and his starring gig in Cedar Rapids--but there wasn't enough room for him to shine with Zach Galifianakis' and Ken Jeong's antics dominating.
While Mr. Chow is the despicable anti-hero, Alan, (Galifianakis) who is equally amoral in his own way, (opening the movie transporting a CGI giraffe down the freeway, its neck too long to clear one of the underpasses, and...)is a more endearing presence as the clueless man-child.
The Hangover III is like the third hangover you get when you start drinking as a teenager. The first two you can rack up to innocence and inexperience, but the third one, there's no real excuse for it. And puzzling--to say the least--why, in a film aimed primarily at younger guys, there's no T & A worth mentioning (and I'm wording it that way to forewarn you of a sight gag at the end that flops.)
There is one great line here, though, and that is as the Wolfpack are cruising into Las Vegas, and someone says offhandedly, "Somebody should burn this place to the ground."
That really made me smile.
Oh dear. I hate to ruin that clever visual of me and Tim as boxing 'roos, never quite agreeing on anything. But I'm definitely in his corner when it comes to HANGOVER, PART III. Okay. Every once in a while, like all the other sick puppies in the audience, I'd laugh. I'm a sucker for sight gags. But this film has so little to recommend it that I actually felt guilty for laughing.
What's good about it?
If you've never visited Vegas, you'll feel like you have after watching the long, lingering shots of Caesar's Palace, the water fountains outside The Bellagio, The Strip....
I'm a big fan of Zach Galifianakis so I was looking forward to more of his endearing antics. I'd seen his comedy special on HBO and the guy is truly brilliant. But not in this piece of cinematic claptrap.
Another brilliant comedienne whose talents are underused in HANGOVER, PART III is Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, 2011), who plays Cassie, a less-than-feminine clerk working behind the counter of video games arcade. (Or was it a casino?) Doesn't matter, really, as she was given less on-camera time than the giraffe! As for People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive!" (2011), I'll bet Bradley Cooper is a lot prouder of that achievement than appearing in this over-hyped, super hapless sequel.